Enrichment – “It’s all about choices”
Enriching your dog’s environment plays a crucial part in keeping your dog happy and healthy. It is so much more than just providing a few chew toys – it’s all about choices!
Dogs need opportunities within their environment to make choices and an outlet to perform behaviours that are normal for that particular breed of dog. Think about Jack Russells, they were bred to dig and burrow in order to catch rats and mice. Setting up places in your house or yard for them to perform these behaviours can help them do the work they were bred to do and may prevent any unwanted behaviours developing. Boxes or bales of straw work well in creating tunnels for digging rather than that new lounge or beautiful garden they have started to burrow in.
Interactive toys are a good way to not only slow your dog down if they are a fast eater but also provide some mental stimulation for them. Feeding your dog from a Kong or similar toy is a good idea. In summer you can even make Kong ice-blocks by freezing some treats inside them.
As well as giving your dog things to do it is just as important to provide places for your dog to rest and be comfortable. Consider having places that are high, like a camp chair or an old couch for them sleep on or comfy beds for them to burrow into. Some sun on the grass or nice cool concrete are sometimes just as inviting for dogs as a comfy bed.
It is also important to provide opportunities for your dog to exercise and keep up with training. There are many different activities you can participate in with your dog. Contact your local dog club or search on the internet to find out more. They include: field work, tracking, dancing with dogs, obedience, agility, retrieving, stock work, fly ball, and the list goes on.
The internet is a fantastic resource when it comes to finding ideas about enriching your dog’s environment but if you are unsure please give us a call for advice.