Canine enrichment is the hot topic at the moment, the buzz phrase! But what is it?
Simply enrichment is additions to an animal's environment with which the animal voluntarily interacts and, as a result, experiences improved physical and/or psychological health.
There are so many types of enrichment and all animals can enjoy it, especially dogs! Now food is the most obvious, and usually the easiest, way of introducing enrichment in to your dogs life. If you haven't already ditched the bowl, I highly recommend you do so. You can find some ideas here
Dogs love to work for their food and there are so many fun ways you can enrich your dogs life by giving them food in toys or simply scattering their food around and encouraging your dog to find it.
Using their nose is a great enrichment activity. Dogs absolutely love using their noses! We often don't let them use their incredible noses anywhere near enough.
When looking at a patch of grass, we just see green, we might smell it if the grass had just been cut but other than that, it is just a boring patch of grass. To a dog though; there is so much going on! Their nose can detect so much more than we could ever smell or even see.
Other dogs that have been previously, the pigeon that landed there, the cat that walked over, the crumbs left after a picnic...so many different things! Next time your dog wants to sniff, let them, their lives will be enriched from it. Occasionally they might even roll in those delicious (or not so nice to us!) smells.
Enrichment could also be trying out new things. Maybe a toy or interacting with a new object such a cardboard box or even a fitness obstacle.
There are so many different ways we can enrich our dog's lives. This Facebook group is focused around enrichment, head on over and have a look Canine Enrichment
It is important to remember with canine enrichment that it is only enrichment if the dog finds it enriching. Meaning your dog has to actually enjoy doing it. Each dog is different and enrichment has to be adapted to suit them.
I'll use my dogs as an example. Kai loves eating food out of toys and likes it when we freeze food in them (I enjoy this too as takes him longer to eat it!). Keira also likes eating food out of toys, BUT not frozen. That she doesn't enjoy, she's likely to just walk away from it, so definitely not enriching for her.
Kai loves to swim...Keira doesn't.
Keira loves taking city walks...Kai doesn't.
They both love learning new tricks and exploring new places.
Try new things with your dog, find out the things they like and don't like. Add those they like to their lives as enrichment.