*Downloadable PDF with enrichment ideas below*
Mental enrichment for dogs has become a hot topic on Instagram and TikTok recently, and has always been a staple for R+ dog trainers when it comes to helping with behavior issues. Enrichment is anything that your dog finds fun, or enriching, if you will. This could be going for a walk, swimming, or playing fetch. Enrichment should never be frustrating or stressful, and it doesn't need to be something that lasts all day. Did you know that you can provide different types of enrichment for your dog at a low cost and in the comfort of your own home?
Something as simple as changing your dog's metal food bowl to a puzzle feeder is one example of enrichment. Scattering their kibble around the house engages their instinct to hunt and use their nose, which is enriching. Taking them to a training class to be around other dogs in a new environment can be enriching. Giving them a special treat like a stuffed Kong or a new bone are examples of enrichment as well.
"Why should I provide enrichment for my dog?" Or "they still finish with their puzzle feeder in five minutes," are things that dog trainers often hear from pet guardians. Enrichment encourages problem solving and learning, which makes for a well-rounded dog. Mental enrichment can help with behavior issues like stress-based fear, leash reactivity, aggression, and more when paired with positive reinforcement training.
My personal dog eats all of his meals from some sort of puzzle feeder, or he gets a "pupsicle:" kibble and his favorite fruits frozen in a container. I share the importance of enrichment with all of my clients, and encourage you to take a look at the list with some of my favorites.
If you are interested in learning more about how enrichment paired with training could help your dog, contact us today.