Enrichment, What is it?




Enrichment is often talked about and promoted as a fantastic experience for puppies and older dogs alike but what exactly IS it?

In short enrichment is the act of adding interesting things to our dogs environment to promote curiosity and engagement in natural behaviours. It challenges their brains, boosts confidence, enhances problem solving abilities and teaches them new skills.

Often modern day dogs are given the same routine day in, day out consisting of sleeping, walking in the same area each day and eating the same food out of a bowl. It can become really boring for our dogs who are natural adventurers as well as scavengers and hunters. Providing our dogs with mental stimulation and outlets for their natural behaviours will help prevent them becoming self employed and finding their own amusement through boredom. Often the activities they choose are things we’d rather they didn’t like digging in the garden or chewing the cushions.

Puppies who have engaged in appropriate activities throughout the day will be more content, happy, relaxed and fulfilled. One sure way to a peaceful evening without zoomies is by setting up enrichment for your puppy.

Enrichment comes in many forms:

The first is Food based enrichment – including noise boxes, stuffed Kongs, wobbler toys, lickimats, rolled towels with treats inside, chews and fun with the recycling

There is also – Sensory enrichment – where you puppy gets to explore using their different senses – smells of novel objects, taste of different foods, touch including the texture of different surfaces as well as different sensations of body touch, sounds – either natural or recorded, and sights of the world around them – taking a drive together to different places to watch the world go by is a great enrichment activity

Social enrichment – engaging with you in human play, interacting with other people and animals up close and from a distance, are all important

Next up is – Physical enrichment – such as digging, exploring, climbing and crawling – puppy parkour is great for this

There’s also – Toy based/ play enrichment – including games with you like – gentle tuggy, and careful toy chasing – a flirt pole is great for dogs who love to chase, as well as parading objects for our pups who love holding onto objects

The last category is Cognitive enrichment – which includes: puzzle games, clicker shaping games, as well as other training games like hide and seek

It is best to try to include a variety of enrichment types throughout your puppy’s day to ensure you meet all of their needs.

You can do enrichment in the home and garden as well as when you’re out and about exploring with your puppy.

You won’t see the world the same now you know about enrichment!

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