Dog enrichment

Our dogs live in a human world but they have doggy needs. We can meet these by providing activities that give outlets for their natural behaviours. This is important for their welfare, health and happiness. Many unwanted behaviours can begin to be addresses by making sure your dog has appropriate enrichment and that they are content and fulfilled.


What enrichment do I do with my dogs?

Make a list of what  you dog likes to do such as: digging, chewing, chasing, tugging, climbing, training and sniffing. Get creative to meet their favourite activities.

Monitor them to see if they are enjoying and engaging with the activity. Also take note if they seem confused or frustrated. 

Occupation – Give your dog activities to do:

Most dogs enjoy having activities to break up the day. Higher energy dogs need their jobs to take up more of the day than your average pup.

Some examples are:

Training (using their brains) – tricks/parkour 

Physical – running/hiking/sandpit digging 

Working for food – Wobble kongs/snuffle mats

Chewing – buffalo horn/antlers etc  

Destruction – DIY cardboard creations to hide treats in and allow your dog to destroy so they can find the food or a new soft toy.

Social – Dog dates and human play pals:

Dogs get a lot out of social contact such as confidence, joy and knowledge. If your dog struggles to be calm or is worried when seeing new people/dogs you can find a trainer to help you.

Some good social forms of enrichment are:

Play dates with an equally matched friend.

Walks alongside other dogs.

A visit from some human friends.

Play with humans such as tug and hide and seek.

Environmental – Variety and adding value to walks:

Walks can be great enrichment but they become boring if they are always the same. Most dogs get a lot out of new experiences. If you think that would be too much for your pup, bring some of the smells of the outside into the garden!

Some things you could do are:

Mix up walks – Time of day for different scents.

Visit new places – The new sights and smells will be very enriching.

Play games – Hide and seek with you or a toy / Find the treat in the grass and practice training. 

Olfactory – Sniffing! Using their primary sense:

Dogs see the world through their noses. They can locate things with their sense of smell and tell what’s going on in the local area and who has been where. 

Set up some scent games and fun such as: 

Hide treats and say “find it” – Start very easy.

Nose based activities – man trailing / scent work.

Scatter feed your dog on the long grass so they have to hunt for each bit of kibble.

Bring different scents home to allow them to explore more smells. 

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