Environmental enrichment is anything that is provided for our pets to improve their quality of life and to ensure their mental and physical needs are met. When we provide them with environmental enrichment it encourages our dogs to do what we deem is allowable, yet still fun for them. If no or not enough environmental enrichment is provided they will generally seek their own fun which is generally things we do not want them to do. Listed below are some ideas to improve environmental enrichment
Provide your dog with a range of toys, remembering if your dog doesn’t play with some toys then they are not a toy to your dog. If you know your dog’s favourite type of toy, if you supply other similar toys your pet is more likely to take full advantage of playing with these. Also, alternating and hiding toys can give your dog more value in these toys.
Can be stuffed or used as a chew toy. Variations in stuffing include freezing soup or meat inside, filling them with vegemite/peanut butter/honey and biscuits. There are different types of kongs and also different sizes available to suit your pet.Read more
Some breeds respond very well to scent trails as a form of environmental enrichment. With your dog out of sight, trail a piece of cabanossi (as it is smelly) around your yard (around bushes etc) for him to sniff out, leaving the piece there for the reward when he gets to the end. At first don’t make this too difficult until he gets the hang of it! (you could use several pieces, dropping them along the way to start)
Again while he is not looking scatter or hide food around your yard for him to hunt out and eat, don’t forget to make it easy until he gets the idea.
Build your dog a sandpit or place a small kiddie’s shell pool in an acceptable place, bury some bones and some dog toys for him to find. Remember you need to encourage your dog to play there and also to go back there for entertainment, they do not know the difference from the digging pit to your garden!
Water using a small kiddie’s shell pool, fill it up with water for your dog to play in. This is a great idea for summer, however if you do not want a muddy dog don’t use the digging pit and the pool at once.
Walking is a great experience for your dog and when you take your pet walking it should be for them, not for you. Dogs generally enjoy the visual aspect of walking, but more importantly the scents that they encounter on their walk. You should allow them to sniff and to roam when they are walking as it provides your pet with great environmental enrichment. If walking your pet is difficult please talk to the staff about halti and harness that are available.
General obedience training is fantastic as not only does it give your animal confidence and direction but it also provides mental stimulation as well as teaching them cues which you can use in general interactions. Don’t forget that 10 minutes training = 30 minutes exercise.
Some pets are not as confident as others and might have anxiety issues or may be a candidate for future anxiety problems. Too much stimulation may aggravate dormant anxiety issues. Environmental enrichment is a necessity for all animals; however some dogs need a lot more than others so try not to overload your pet if it’s not necessary. If you think your dog may have anxiety issues or could possibly be a candidate in the future please speaks to one of our staff for more information on anxiety problems.