Enrichment – What does that mean for your dog? Why is it so important?

How do you feel when you don’t get to enjoy extra activities regularly that ENRICH your life,
For you it may be yoga, sport, art, we are all different but we all need to satisfy that part of our nature.
What about our dogs? Do we think about their enrichment needs, do we know what enrichment is for our dog?
Giving dogs new experiences, access to other dogs, the ability to sniff and explore, the option to sniff and search stimulates their senses, gives their lives enrichment and allows them to live a full and happy life in a natural way.

Do you see people walking their dogs along the same route every day on a short leash, not allowing them to put their heads down and explore the world in the way that is natural, with their nose. Not varying the route so they can experience new things………. Is that dog being enriched, is it loving the walk, is it creating a happy contented canine.

Do you see dogs that are being walked that are unable to meet another dog on their walk? Is that dog being allowed to socialise, satisfying a natural need to interact with their own kind………Is that dog being enriched, has it developed a canine brain and behaviors that are natural, is this creating a happy contented dog?

Do you know of dogs who spend their day alone in a grassed, fenced backyard with nothing there to play with, sniff explore, work out …..can that be healthy for that dog, will that allow the dog to live a full happy life and not develop some unwanted behaviors as a result.

Think about your own dog – have you identified your dog’s unique needs to be happy and healthy? Are you giving them regular access to be around other dog’s in a safe appropriate way, are you giving them access to fresh natural food and bones? Are they having nose down, let them dictate the walk, in new environments outings? Is their main area of living enriched with things to do, Can they dig?

There are lots of things you can do to enrich your dog’s lives that don’t take too much time and energy………..

Food – Don’t just use a food bowl.
. Feed them fresh food and put it in a puzzle or roll into balls and throw on the back lawn for them to hunt for
Do treat searches around the garden and house – 1 client hides pieces of chicken necks around the garden, in low tree branches and bushes for her dog to hunt for- or use a snuffle mat – we sell them on facebook.com/healthypetsfirst or our ebay store petitepawspure & natural
Feed them a bone when you are there to supervise ( see my facebook post on feeding your dogs bones safely)

Enrich the garden – use dog friendly plants in your garden they can sniff around in and chase butterflies etc
Give them a place to dig, a lot of dogs have a NEED to dig and not giving them access to this can allow for unhappiness to develop.

Take them out to explore new places – the walks don’t have to be long but let them stop and sniff and look around. I took my dog to a new park and she just stood and sniffed the air for 5 mins before she stepped into the park and started to explore – how often do we not allow them this time to take in all the new smells, sights and sounds.

There are doggy daycares, dog walking groups, canine activity clubs, dog walkers etc for letting your dogs have contact, play, learning with their own kind in a safe supervised way,

What does your dog want to do? Have fun working out what makes your dog smile and try them out for a month and see what changes arise ……………………..

Love Emily