- April Schrader, CPDT-KA
3 Super Easy Ways to Enrich Your Dogs Life
Dogs need enrichment, enrichment gives your dog an outlet for naturally desired behaviors. These activities can reduce stress, anxiety, improve appetite, and improves your dogs overall happiness and wellbeing.
Enrichment should be a part of every dogs daily life, and it is your job as a dog parent to provide adequate stimulation opportunities. If dogs could talk they would tell us they are bored, however they can not, instead they do things such as dig in the trash, chew the furniture, and bark incessantly.
Think of it this way, if you or I did nothing but eat, work and sleep we soon would become bored as well. Our lives are filled with enrichment from reading a good book, to scrolling on tiktok or having dinner with friends. Every living being on this earth requires mental enrichment!
As a certified professional dog trainer I have discovered over the years that common problems such as hyperactivity, excessive barking and destructive chewing can be resolved by adding mental enrichment into your dogs life.
Below are 3 SUPER EASY ways to provide your dog with much needed enrichment!
Let a Dog be a Dog
Instead of hustling around the block, or rushing back to your house to run errands slow down and let your dog explore the world and take in all the smells. See smelling things is like reading the newspaper or watching the news for us, dogs use smell to assess their surroundings and communicate with one another. I find it helpful to use different leashes for different types of walks, I will use a regular 6ft leash for walking, running or while in a public space and I want my dog close and a long 30ft leash for sniffy walks.
It is never to late to teach a dog new tricks, just 15 minutes a day will keep your dog in practice and create a strong human-dog bond. Once your dog has mastered one trick keep adding new tricks one at a time, and watch their repertoire grow. There are so many tricks that your dog is capable of learning from spin, twirl, roll over, sit pretty, shake and the list goes on. Trick training is also great for building confidence in dogs who may struggle with being timid or fearful.
Dogs were designed to spend hours each day working for their food by scavenging and or hunting. We are basically taking that job away from them by placing their food in bowls. This can cause behavioral problems stemming from bored and even separation anxiety. In order to prevent or alleviate those problems we provide puzzle toys, these make your dog work for their food by using their paws or noses to gain access to the food. There are many types of puzzle feeders from snuffle mats, puzzle balls, a stuffed kong, or a lick mat frozen with a tasty treat and the list goes on.
For your dog to truly thrive they need activities that stimulate their mental muscles. Mental enrichment is just as important as physical exercise and both work to tire your dog out. So ditch the bowl and watch the magic happen!