So what exactly is dog enrichment and how can it possibly become a “lifestyle ?” Just like it’s root word dictionary definition, “to improve or enhance the quality of,” canine enrichment improves your dog’s mental capacity and enhances his understanding of his relationship with you and the world around him. So let’s make every experience for your dog as enriching as we possibly can by making it part of your everyday lifestyle. It’s so easy to do, your dog will love you for it, PLUS these simple changes can be enlightening ways to bring YOU peace and joy, so why not?
Since enrichment is part of your dog’s day, it’s part of your day and your pattern in life too. Enrichment is multi-sensory, so this offers us many ways to soothe and stimulate our dogs and at the same time, we’re treating our OWN senses. Let’s take notice in ways you can add some peace to your every day and at the same time bring wellness and satisfaction to your dog.
Delivered to Your Door
Simply fill dog puzzles with treats or your dogs’ kibble. You can even make your own homemade and healthy treats for puzzle fillers. We love any product made by Kyjen puzzles because they come in a variety of difficulty levels. You can also make your own snuffle matt, or my personal favorite can be found here, that my dog eats from regularly. All of these “store-bought” items can be delivered right to your door. Here are a few more of our favorites, thanks to our friends at Amazon. Kong shares great recipes for you right here,
Can I get a “HOLLA!” for the “Do-It-Your-Selfers!” After your adventure of finding any of these items from around the house listed below you can stuff them with the food treats of your choice. Better yet, feed your dogs entire meal this way and let the taste enrichment begin!
Save or be on the lookout for:
- Empty toilet paper and paper towel roll
- Empty Kleenex boxes
- Egg cartons
- PVC tubing
- Package delivery boxes
- Wrap treats in a rolled-up towel
- Use a laundry basket with towels filled with treats
Through a dog ear and classical music creates a lovely energy that dogs enjoy. It’s good for the soul and would be good for you too! You can find the tunes here.
Scents can stimulate and calm the senses. Anyone who is “into” essential oils knows this. Scent is powerful! For dogs, they need to get their olfactory going regularly. This is how dogs“read.” Dogs sniff like we “see”, so let’s give them lots to smell about! You can spray scents on bedding or use scents in the air with diffusers and candles. This is great for you too as aromatherapy has been shown to carry many benefits for stress relief and wellness.
I use lavender, orange, rosemary, and peppermint. Dogs seem to like almond, coconut and vanilla scent. Shelters will sometimes sprinkle dried spices like cinnamon, cloves and ginger on kennel floors to get the dogs sniffing. Explore and “scent” out your favorites together! Maybe having treats in the oven gets your senses going. The world is your enrichment oyster.
4. Mental and Physical Enrichment
Teaching and training is where it’s at. To me, this is what is all about. When you teach a new behavior or remind your dog how smart they are with the basics, it just feels good. Everyone loves a pat on the back and there’s nothing better than learning a new skill and getting good at it! This gets the endorphins going for both of you. Throw in a nice brisk walk and your day just got better all the way around.
Life can just look, taste, smell, feel and BE sweeter when you’re engaging all the senses with your dog. An enlightening and enriching way to live life for the entire family, including the dog.
Check out this video of our trainer Erica and her son Issac home during the #quarantine. In this video, they give you tips to make your day more enjoyable AND enriching with your dog AND your family! #stayhome #takeapaws
Be sure to join our founder, Christine Fox, LIVE on Facebook, Mondays at 4 PM for more tips. Next week we talk dog grooming products and tricks. Hope to see you there.