If you’re reading this article, chances are you have a dog. Maybe a pretty energetic one? One that eats way too fast out of a normal bowl? Perhaps a senior dog looking for some relaxing stimulation? Even if you don’t fall into one of these categories, you may still benefit from canine enrichment.
Canine Enrichment: what is it?
So what is it? Canine enrichment is allowing a dog to to engage in their innate, instinctual behaviors. These include things like sniffing, licking, searching, digging and many more.
Don’t dogs do that stuff all the time?
Yes and no. They do use their senses to perceive the world, but enrichment gives them control over their environment and an outlet to relieve stress in a non-destructive way. Dogs love enrichment. If you are not providing it, they will seek it out, usually in ways us humans classify as “destructive.”
What other benefits does enrichment offer dogs?
- Decrease stress
- Prevent boredom-related bad behaviors
- Slows down fast eaters
- Prevent boredom
- Exercise your dog’s mind and body, without leaving the house
- Sharpen your dog’s mind
- Increase the bond between you and your dog
- Release pent up energy in your dog
How should I start?
There are so many products on the market. From puzzle feeders to homemade snuffle mats, you may find yourself overwhelmed when first getting started. That is why we developed the enrichment starter kit. It comes with a snuffle mat, a lick mat and a pack of squeezable, dog peanut butter. What you’ll do is take the peanut butter, spread it onto the entire lick mat and pop it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. This will make it last significantly longer. For the snuffle mat, you simply take a scoop of your dog's kibble or other small, dry treats, and scatter it over the mat. Be sure to work the kibble into the mat a bit so it gets under the flaps and folds.
Enrichment is not a replacement for exercise or training. It is simply a tool available that can help many aspects of your dog’s life. Have you tried enrichment already? We would love to know what products are working for you in the comments!