Having dogs in our lives can be such a gift, and at times, it can be hard. Enrichment for dogs has the power of meeting everyone’s needs in the relationship thus improving welfare and the connection between dogs and their people.
Whether you’re raising a puppy and living off very little sleep, or walking a dog that barks and pulls on leash, or living with a dog that suffers from anxiety, these situations can cause a lot of stress for everyone involved.
In today’s episode of the Paws & Reward podcast, Allie Bender and Emily Strong of Pet Harmony Animal Behavior & Training, and I are going to explore what enrichment for dogs is and how you can mend a fractured relationship through dog enrichment activities.
What is dog enrichment?
Enrichment is the act of developing opportunities for animals to meet their needs by empowering them to perform species-typical behaviors. In other words, enrichment is meeting an animal’s needs.
People think of enrichment for dogs as the things we do, rather than thinking backward. Instead, we should ask: what is the outcome we are looking for and then what dog enrichment activities achieve that goal?
Examples of Enrichment for Dogs
- Building a sandbox with toys and treats to reduce unwanted digging behavior in your flower beds
- Providing a frozen Lickimat or Toppl to calm and soothe your dog during a stressful situation
- Setting up scent games at home to drain some energy and help your dog settle for the afternoon
In all of these cases, the dog enrichment activities are designed to meet a specific need or address a specific behavior.
What is the importance of enrichment for dogs?
Dog enrichment helps provide dogs with opportunities to engage in species-typical behavior. In other words, it lets them be a dog! Not only is enrichment for dogs fun to do for your pet, it’s also fun for you to watch or engage with your dog!
How can enrichment for dogs support the relationship between the dog and the pet parent?
Providing dog enrichment is a great way to meet everyone’s needs through fun, engaging activities.
Adding enrichment activities into your dog’s regular schedule can be fun and easy to implement. And if the increased enrichment helps reduce unwanted behaviors, then needs are met for both the dog and the pet parent.
From this place, enrichment for dogs can actually heal and strengthen the relationship between a dog and its owner.
Learn More About Enrichment for Dogs
Get more information and tips from Emily and Allie by exploring their resources online.
Want even more ideas for enrichment for dogs? You can also explore these valuable resources from Paws and Reward.
- Paws & Reward Dog Enrichment E-Book
- Podcast: Supporting Dog & Owner Needs with Dog Enrichment
- Article: Dog Enrichment & Mental Stimulation Toys