Episode #17: The Importance of Enrichment with Emily Strong & Allie Bender

Marissa MartinoPaws & Reward Podcast

Having dogs in our lives can be such a gift, and at times, it can be hard. 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, Allie Bender and Emily Strong of Pet Harmony Animal Behavior & Training, and I are going to explore what enrichment is and how you can mend a fractured relationship through these activities. 

What is enrichment?

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 as the things we do, rather than thinking backward. What is the outcome we are looking for and then what enrichment activities achieve that goal? 

  • For example, does digging in a sandbox with toys and treats reduce the dogging behavior in your flower beds. 
  • Or does licking a frozen Likcimat or Frozen Toppl help calm or soothe your dog during a stressful situation.
  • And, lastly, does setting up a nosework game help drain some energy and help my dog settle for the afternoon. 

Why is enrichment so important? 

It helps provide dogs with opportunities to engage in species-typical behavior. In other words, they can be a dog! Not only is enrichment fun to do for the dog, it’s also fun for the person to watch or engage with the dog! 

How can enrichment support the relationship between the dog and the pet parent?

Providing enrichment is a great way to meet everyone’s needs through fun, engaging activities. Sometimes implementing enrichment can be fun and easy for the client to implement. And if the increased enrichment helps reduce the behavior concern, both parties needs are met. From this place, we have all observed repairs in the relationship. 

Want more enrichment ideas…..check out my free eBook!