Everyone knows that most dogs love a good, long walk - especially if they get to visit somewhere new. All of the exciting new scents, new people to sniff and sticks to catch - it’s a dream activity for a dog.
But just like us humans, our dogs can get bored doing the same things day in and day out. And what if your dog is older or can’t go on long walks anymore? What do you do then? This is why it’s so important to provide as many different types of enrichment for your dog as possible.
The benefits of providing enrichment for your dog
There are so many plus sides to creating a stimulating and enriching environment for your dog:
- Alleviates boredom, and the destructive behaviour that can go alongside that
- Helps to reduce anxiety in nervous dogs, giving them something else to focus on
- Can be used as a tool to correct feeding issues
- Can be used as a great bonding exercise between you and your dog
- Promotes physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing
Different types of enrichment for your dog, and how you can use them
There are a few different ways to provide your dog with the environmental stimuli they need to live a happy and varied lifestyle.
They can be categorised into these groups:
- Dog feeding enrichment
- Enrichment activities and games
Whether you’re looking to add some new activities to your dog’s schedule, or want a different way of feeding at mealtimes, there are options out there to suit every budget, as well as plenty of DIY choices, if you’re so inclined.
Here are some of our favourite things you can use to give your canine pal a fulfilled and enriched life:
Dog feeding enrichment options
These mats are great to use with dogs who are a bit over-eager when it comes to feeding time. Eating too fast can cause your dog to vomit and is a greater risk of choking or bloat, so it’s important to promote slower eating if your dog is a bit of a guzzler.
The textured grooves and shapes on a lick mat holds the food (we recommend adding some hot water to your McDug kibble then spreading on a mat before it cools down) and promotes the dog to lick the food out of the mat.
Licking also releases lots of happy endorphins for your dog, promoting wellbeing and stimulation.
Dog treat toys
Placing your dog’s treats into a sturdy toy is a great way to give them their treats while providing your dog with stimulation while they try to get into the goodies inside.
They’re also great options if your dog doesn’t like you leaving the house - distracting your dog with a treat toy will allow you to leave without causing any undue stress or anxiety.
We’re big fans of the ones you can get from K9 Connectables, like the Tuff Stuffer Pro
Enrichment activities and games
You don’t need a lot of space to build your own agility course for your pooch - all you need is a bit of imagination using some household items.
Cardboard boxes or cones can be used to create weaves or jumps in a hallway, or in your garden. Or get creative and make a small maze using cupboard items.
The secret to getting your dog interested is to walk them through the course a couple of times, providing plenty of praise and rewards for getting through each obstacle.
Start small and build your way up and you’ll have a happy, agile dog in no time!
Does your dog love sniffing out their treats? You can either use ruffle mats and treats, our favourites are from Teddy Bear Snuffle Mats, Ruffle Snuffle and Snuffle Monsters - and all of these work perfectly with the McDug treats range!
You could also create a scavenger hunt through the house. Hide some of their favourite treats throughout the home and reward your dog every time they find a new treat.
If your dog has the hunter instinct and loves searching for its prey, then a puzzle toy might be the perfect enrichment toy for them.
These toys are designed to hide other favourite toys inside, leaving your dog to hunt them out and capture their reward.
What new enrichment activity are you going to add to your dog’s regular activities?