What is canine enrichment?
Canine enrichment is providing your dog with the opportunity to improve and enhance their mental state with a range of activities that aim to challenge and exercise their brains. Canine enrichment encourages dogs to problem solve, learn new skills, and become more confident! We love having healthy, happy, confident dogs.
Ideas for canine enrichment:
- Long lasting chews for when you need your dog to entertain themselves for a while.
- What you’ll need: Kong or other stuffable toy or hollow bone (make sure to use a safe bone), wet dog food OR bone broth, broth of some kind (we use low sodium, or watered down regular broth), your dog’s kibble, veggies and fruit that your dog likes and is safe for your dog to eat. (Some fruits stain fabrics, choose carefully!), tin foil (place over small top hole in Kong or bone), muffin tin or cups to stand Kongs in.
- Freeze and wallah!
- Lick mats can include the same types of foods as the filled Kongs.
- Engaging your dogs sense of smell on walks. It’s truly important to enjoy the journey, instead of just focusing on the destination!
- If you walk your dog on the same route daily, it can be enrichment if you simply walk the route backwards once a week.
- Not every walk needs to be a scent or smelling walk – dogs can learn the difference!
- Be engaged while walking your dog, and let them stop to sniff when they want to.
- Snuffle mats – either purchased or homemade. Snuffle mats are the perfect place for your dog to sniff and search for hidden treats under pieces of fabric.
- Small training treats can be used, or a portion of your dogs meal for the day… Or it can be a mix of both!
- For training treats, we frequently use Pet Botanics
- Be sure to keep an eye on your pet to make sure they aren’t eating any parts they aren’t supposed to.
- Feeder puzzles are a great way for your dog to work for their food by using their paws and/or noses to open a compartment or dig into a container. Add some excitement to your dogs dinner, without adding extra calories!
- There are different levels that you can purchase if you go that route – so be sure to pay attention to the difficulty level. It’s important for your dog to not get too frustrated so that they give up.
- While feeder puzzles can be expensive, you can also use household items for your canine enrichment! Muffin tins are a great way to have your dog slow down their feeding and think while they eat. You can also lay a bath towel flat on the floor, scatter food in it, and roll it up so that the dog unrolls the towel as they eat.
Make sure to supervise your pets while providing them enrichment. It’s important to keep them safe and not allow them to ingest any items that are toxic to dogs. If there’s any question about whether something is safe for your pet or not, please ask your veterinarian.
Let us know which ideas you love! Share your photos with our Facebook page: Deafinitely Dogs – Definitely Dogs USA