Enrichment is the buzz word for providing fun activities that support your dog’s mental wellbeing.
Dogs and owners benefit through engagement reducing boredom and ‘naughty’ behaviours such as barking, digging and chewing.
Ideas for activities and toys that you can do on the cheap are available online.
Try a range of activities until you find what appeals to your dog.
Dogs love different smells. Pick up fleece from fences or ask friends with different pets to rub a towel on them to pick up the scent. Going to the beach or the bush? Bring back small bits of novel things like twigs/leaves/seaweed/shells.
Sniffari – dogs find walks relaxing, fulfilling and tiring when they are allowed to sniff and follow their noses. Sniffing releases happy hormones – and gets the mind working. You may find this walk more rewarding too. You can read more about sniffaris here.
Make eating interesting and avoid the speed feed. Ditch the bowl and feed kibble using a snuffle mat. Use a slow feeder bowl – wet/dry food. Stuff it in a Kong. Use a licky mat (wet food). Add in some vegetables and try fruit/berries for treats. There are many different treats available: Deers/sheep/rabbit/cow/pigs ears etc.
Tug of war is a great bonding game. Some dogs love chasing bubbles. You can get puzzles for dogs or create your own – for example, place treats under tennis balls in a muffin tray, or wrap treats in old paper and stuff into a cardboard box so your dog can unwrap it.
Chew toys and soft toys are important. Just like humans, dogs can get bored with the same old toys all the time, so mix them up and reintroduce toys so that they become new again.
There’s a great Facebook group called Beyond the bowl – canine enrichment which is full of ideas and tips, You can find it here.