Enrichment activities for your dog
ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR DOG
Exercising a dog can be much easier than mentally stimulating a dog, however they are arguably just as important. Following on from the lockdown measures of Covid 19 we have put together some ideas for enrichment sessions to help you keep your dog mentally exercised.
An increasingly popular way to feed is with puzzle feeders and not your average bowl. This enrichment idea can be used with treats or your dog's diet. Not only does this make meal time more challenging, but it also helps to prevent against eating too quickly. You can also use lick matts or slow feeders for similar results as puzzle feeders.
Kongs are a great way to keep your dog busy and incorporate their usual diet. You pack the kong with their daily diet, treats or even for an extra challenge frozen food. Kongs come in varying sizes and ease. Enrichment should be challenging but not frustrating, so it's best to start off easy and increase the difficulty.
We're always looking for ways to reduce our plastic waste or put it to another good use. Here's one use for that empty plastic bottle before it goes off to recycling. Much like a kong, pop some treats in that empty bottle as another form of interactive feeding. You can use a cardboard box; empty toilet roll tube or anything similar. If you are using a plastic bottle do make sure you remove the ring cap.
Interacting and engaging games for dogs can really be made out of anything! One very simple game can be hiding treats under upturned flower pots for your dog to sniff out!
Hide and seek isn't just enjoyed by kids, your dog may also enjoy it too! Have your dog sit and wait, whilst you hide, shout to them to come and see how quickly they can find you. This really puts your dog's
A snuffle matt is a flat matt that looks almost like a shaggy carpet. You can hide treats in amongst this matt for your dog to find. Snuffle matts are also pretty easy to make so you could do some enrichment yourself by creating a snuffle matt!
Almost like a snuffle matt on steroids! Ball pits are a great way to keep your dog engaged for hours. Not only do dogs love balls, digging and searching but they'll love the ball pit even more if you've hidden some treats inside! Ball pits can be easily sourced from online retailers such as Amazon, however if you want to get creative you can use a large tyre and fill it with balls or a kiddie paddling pool!
DIY OBSTACLE COURSE
Agility training and competitions are an excellent way of training, exercising and mentally stimulating your dog. Unfortunately, these facilities aren't always available, so it's good to recreate these kinds of facilities at home. You can create obstacles around your house that mimic agility courses, like boxes for hurdles or cones for your dog to weave around. The possibilities are endless with what you can create; all you need to do is get creative!
Trick training will never go out of fashion. It's always great to incorporate a new trick into your dog's training to mentally stimulate them. Dogs love reward based training so it's great to keep them interested by a little stash of treats! When trick training remember to be realistic and remain light hearted, don't get frustrated if your dog can't keep up!
If you’re still interested in finding out more about enrichment activities, try researching breed specific enrichment, some breeds are naturally good at and bred for activities such as scent work so this works well for them and encompasses their natural skillset. Sometimes we tend to over think enrichment and put too much pressure on ourselves to create a good and meaningful activity. Realistically as long as you’re stimulating your dog’s mind you’re doing the right thing!