Your dog is your everything. I know because my dog is my everything. There is nothing like coming home to the wagging tail and big loving eyes that look up at you with so much joy and admiration. Dogs give us so much.
It’s time for us to give back. We get up, go to work, and leave our four legged bestie in a box of a house, day after day. I have been home for a while day after day and I start to lose my mind. So let’s talk environmental enrichment. Big words for such a simple idea.
Environmental enrichment enhances the animal’s environment with the goal to improve their social, cognitive, and psychological well-being.
This is something that a zoo keeper has to constantly keep in mind for the animals that have brought into an enclosed environment from the wild, but something as pet owners we rarely take a second look at. Today is the day. You can improve your dog’s life and also his behavior by offering him simple things in his everyday life.
- House Design. The way that your house is designed for your dog can enhance his life. If he is left outdoors (or if you have a patio) one of the things I like to do for dogs is provide a kid sandbox with hidden dog toys so he can have fun digging them out. There are many other options with enacting the environment, but really the sky is the limit.
2. Training. Training is always a huge key in every dog’s life. Dogs enjoy this because they get to learn new things and also it improves their behavior. My website (as well as blog) has loads of free training advice.
3. The good ol’ Ol Factory. Scent Games. Yes! Many dogs, surprisingly don’t even know how to use their nose. Scent games can help with focus, behavior, and are also are fun. There are many scent game books available, clubs, and much more. One game I like to play with my dogs is Hide the Treat. Check out the details here.
4. Food Related. There are many food related games for dogs like puzzle feeders and DIY games that you can easily and cheaply put together for your pet.
Here is a list of a few:
5. Auditory. We can always utilize music. My highest recommendation is Through A Dog’s Ear. This is a CD that promotes relaxation. I know that there are dog related programs on TV as well. Again, the sky is the limit for the tools in your dog training tool box.
6. Novel Objects. This would include chew toys (raw hide, bone, bully stick), new things in the environment like a hammock, for example, or for my dog Boy his favorite is a stuffed raccoon. Toys for dogs are tools to enhance his environment.
When adding things to your dog’s environment you are being mindful of your dog’s needs and creating a better life for your beloved pet. Do you have anything that you like to use with your dog? Please share with us!
Blog written by Michelle Huntting
Building the bridge of communication between dog and pet guardian
Check out Abby Chesnut and Michelle Huntting’s Blab on Environmental Enrichment