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Tails of Enrichment: How to Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy

"Enrichment means meeting all of an animal’s mental, physical, and behavioral needs in order to empower them to perform species-typical behaviors in healthy, safe, and appropriate ways" - Allie Bender, Canine Enrichment for the Real World


Enrichment activities are important for our dog's mental and physical health and provide outlets for natural behaviors, like exploring, searching, chasing, and playing. Helping our dogs stay mentally and physically stimulated, enrichment can reduce fear, anxiety, and aggression. By giving our dogs something to do, we can help them stay focused, build confidence, and interact with their environment in a positive way. It's also a wonderful opportunity to interact & bond with our dogs.


What can I do with my dog?


There are multiple forms of enrichment: physical, sensory, cognitive, social, food, toy and more!

  • Try going on a 'sniffari' and let them sniff to their heart's content

  • A game of tug, playing fetch or trying a new toy

  • Hiding treats around the house and playing "find-it"

  • Trick training, nosework, agility & dog sports

  • Exploring new places (going at your dog's pace)

  • Social time with dog & human friends


There are so many benefits to providing enrichment to our dogs, including:
  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Builds a stronger bond between you and your dog

  • Some activities help keep your dog occupied when you're busy

  • Mentally & physically stimulating activities result in a more fulfilled, relaxed dog

  • Gives your dog a sense of control & agency over their environment

  • Prevents behavioral issues from developing

  • Improves overall well-being


A WEEK OF ENRICHMENT IDEAS

​Mental Monday

Use a puzzle toy to get your dog's brain busy! You can DIY by hiding treats in an egg carton,towel or recycled boxes

Trick Tuesday

Teach your dog a new trick or practice ones they already know.

Wacky Wednesday

Get silly with your dog! Play games like hide & seek, tug or create an obstacle course for the both of you

Adventure Thursday

Explore a new trail, visit your local pet store and let your dog sniff the aisles or meet with dog friends for a parallel walk

Foraging Friday

Ditch the food bowl and scatter your dog's meal in the grass or hide it around the house for them to find!

Sniffari Saturday

Use a long line and let your dog lead the walk today, letting them sniff & explore at their own pace

Siesta Sunday

Freeze a special treat for your dog to enjoy, like peanut putter, yogurt or pumpkin. Put it inside of a Kong, Toppl, Licki Mat or just use a muffin pan. You can get creative!


 

About the Author: Ashley Diaz is a dedicated pet owner and animal lover with over 10 years of experience providing professional pet care. With certifications in applied animal behavior & training, she shares her knowledge and insights on pet ownership, behavior, and welfare in her blog. Outside of her work with animals, Ashley enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, practicing yoga and playing the piano.


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