In today’s episode of the Paws & Reward Podcast, I hopped on the line with one of my old co-hosts of Canine Conversations, Kayla Fratt. Kayla Fratt owns Journey Dog Training and lives in Missoula, Montana. On the show, we discussed how to provide your dog with different types of dog enrichment while also taking into consideration what you need from the relationship as a pet parent.
In the episode, we share six different ways you can meet your dog’s enrichment needs along with a list of questions to consider, inviting you to personalize this content for you and your dog to create your ideal dog enrichment schedule.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing The Right Dog Enrichment Activities for Your and Your Dog
There are many different types of dog enrichment activities that can support your dog’s physical and mental well-being. Finding the best dog enrichment ideas for you and your pet starts by asking yourself the following questions about your dog’s needs and your own.
Questions About Your Dog:
- How old is your dog? Are they young and need more outlets than a senior dog? Are they a mouthing puppy that might need additional access to oral outlets?
- What is your dog physically able to do? And, just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. Be an advocate for your dog’s physical body and avoid training an endurance athlete. Remember that certain types of dog enrichment that encourage mental stimulation is just as tiring and healthy for your dog as physical activity! Check out episode 10: Supporting your Dog’s Physical Body with Lori Stevens!
- What is your dog’s breed and what were they bred to do? How can you provide dog enrichment activities designed to meet that need?
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- What do you like to do with your dog? What does your dog love to do? When do you feel most connected with your dog?
- What is your realistic time commitment? How can you get creative and efficient with dog enrichment activities? Can you provide enrichment at mealtime or on walks, activities that are done each day regardless?
- Have you noticed a reduction of unwanted behaviors on days you think your dog’s needs are met? If so, how can you make his wellness a priority to have a positive impact everywhere?
Once you’ve explored these questions, it’s time to explore the different types of dog enrichment activities to find the ones that best meet the needs of your dog (and you!).
Types of Dog Enrichment to Consider
#1: Physical exercise
- Social Play with other dogs – check out Episode 2: Healthy Dog Play with Mara Velez
- Off-leash opportunities
- Sports – Denise Fenzi Academy
#2: Mental stimulation
- Food puzzles
- Training tricks
#3: Species-typical types of dog enrichment
- Foraging, Nosework games
- Chewing outlets
- Offering new smells
#4: Teaching life skills
- Determine life skills that would be most beneficial to your lifestyle (come when called, walking nicely on leash). The more skills your dog has, the more experience he or she will get access to.
#5: Providing opportunities for downtime and rest
- Decompression walks
- Removing stressful triggers form their environment
- Deep sleep and rest
#6: Deepening the human-canine bond
- Cherish the small micro-interactions between you and your dog during the day as they can be enriching for both of you and help to deepen the human-canine bond. There are many dog enrichment activities that can help strengthen the connection between you and your dog.
More Resources To Explore Types of Dog Enrichment
To learn more about Kayla and her dog training business, visit her website here: https://journeydogtraining.com/
Want to learn more about dog enrichment activities? Use our free resources below:
- Podcast Episode #17: The Importance of Dog Enrichment
- Article: Dog Enrichment and Mental Stimulation Toys
- Free E-Book: Paws & Reward’s Enrichment E-Book