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Boredom busters – stimulating and enriching your dog

Boredom busters –

stimulating and enriching your dog

Imagine watching your roommate leave for work in the morning when you know you’re stuck home with nothing to do for the next eight hours. Of course, you could always rip up the couch – that’ll be fun. After all you’ll need something to relieve your boredom.

Like us, dogs need to be not only physically active, but also challenged mentally. We can go shopping, eat out, drink with friends, read books and go to the gym to stimulate our bodies and our minds. While these activities wouldn’t all be suitable, dogs need similar things to help them live a happy and healthy life.

You may have heard the term ‘enrichment’ used by dog behaviourists or trainers, but what is it?

Enrichment can be an activity (e.g. foraging, teaching dog tricks, destroying or social interaction), object (e.g. toy, puzzle or food), environment (e.g. grassy paddock, beach or farm) that activates the senses – the more sense activated at once, the better.

For example, for environmental enrichment- a 15-minute walk allowing your dog to sniff along the way will give them the equivalent enrichment of a standard 45-minute walk. This is because they are mental and physically stimulated.

Whether it’s mental, physical, visual, environmental, olfactory or auditory, enrichment is something your dog should receive daily. Why you ask? Because enrichment leads to the following benefits:

  • Prevents destruction
  • Strengthens focus (great for other dog training efforts!)
  • Improves problem solving skills
  • Helps prevent anxiety related behaviours
  • Assists brain growth
  • Builds confidence
  • Releases serotonin (the “happy hormone”)

Depending on your everyday life, this might come across as time consuming, but is well worth the work.

Types of at home enrichment ideas:

  • Kong or other food dispensing toys filled with treats/part of meal
  • Dog puzzles
  • Bones or frozen fruit/yoghurt cubes
  • Dog agility training
  • Teach dog tricks
  • Toys hidden under boxes around backyard
  • Scent tracking using dry spices (cinnamon, clove)
  • Snuffle mats
  • Dog obedience training (create an obstacle course in the backyard)
  • Shell pool filled with sand or dirt (you can hide toys or other objects!)
  • Fill cardboard boxes or even toilet rolls with treats or toys

For all your dog training or behavioural advice, call Ethical Dog Services on 0403 433 399 or contact us via our website.

Written by

Jacqui Bowden 14/11/20

References 

www.animalenrichmentaustralia.com/category/dog/dog-foraging/

www.iheartdogs.com/10-clever-canine-enrichment-ideas-you-can-easily-do-at-home/

https://www.rover.com/blog/best-puzzle-toys-for-dogs-in/

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