In today’s episode, 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 the necessary daily enrichment while also taking into consideration what you need from the relationship as a pet parent. We share 6 different ways you can meet your dog’s needs along with a list of questions to consider, inviting you to personalize this content for you and your dog!
Here is a list of questions to ask yourself before choosing the right enrichment for you and 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 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 enrichment designed to meet that need?
- What do you like to do with your dog? What does your dog love to do? When do you feel most connected?
- What is your realistic time commitment? How can you get creative and efficient with 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?
Different types of enrichment:
#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 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 she 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 he during the day as they can be enriching for both of you!