Enrichment are activities that encourage your dog to display natural behaviours of licking, sniffing or chewing that do not involve training and have very little human interaction. It is an important part of your dog’s daily routine as it helps your dog to relax, and teaches self-reliance, therefore reducing stress levels.
If you do not provide enrichment opportunities during your dog’s daily routine, they are more likely to display undesirable behaviours.
Simple enrichment you can introduce can be food scattering by simply opening the back door and scattering your dog’s kibble or small treats around your garden. Your dog is active, sniffing and using their brain to find the food.
Using a snuffle mat or ball to hide food is another great option and does work. If you do not have one of these, an old blanket or sheet can be twisted up and small treats or kibble hidden inside. Food can also be hidden around your home. However, remember to remove soft chewable fabrics after the dog has finished.
Slowing down mealtimes, by using a Kong or Licky Mat instead of just putting food into a bowl. To make meal times last a little longer you can freeze or part freeze the food. If your dog is struggling to use the Kong, make it easier to access the food building up the difficulty in incremental stages.
Dogs usually enjoy chewing natural treats such as cow hooves and pig ears. Making sure small pieces are removed if choking is likely, and with puppies ensuring age-appropriate products are supplied.
While you are out and about on your daily walk(s), it’s important to allow time for your dog to sniff the floor, ensuring that their mental wellbeing can be maintained during exercise time. If they find this behaviour hard, encourage them with high value food scattering in a very quiet area, without any distractions.
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