Enrichment for Your Furry Companion

Does this ring a bell?

I thought the best way of helping Jack learn to relax was physical exercise.

Running or walking him, in my mind, was the only way for him to just chill.

Boy, was I wrong.

Exercise has it’s part as it encourages bonding with you and increase in fitness, but mental stimulation is so important for an overall wellness plan for your dog.

Here are 6 Canine Enrichment areas and ideas you can include into your dog’s routine.

⭐️ Sensory: Anything that can enliven your dog’s sense of taste, smell, touch, sight and sound. Building a sensory garden in your yard by adding a elevated digging pit, add a kiddie pool and you can fill with either water or switch it out with balls. Add in non toxic plants and ornamental grasses for your dog as some ideas. Even using music through platforms of ICalm by pairing with a carefully planned out D/CC approach to triggering stimuli can help change your dog’s emotional response to those triggers.

Sensory garden: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/family/pets/sensory-dog-garden

⭐️ Feeding: Get rid of the food bowl and try some scatter feeding in your yard or even use a snuffle mat. Foraging also activates your dog’s sense of smell (which is their prominent sense 10s of thousands times stronger than humans). You can even include Find It games or roll up a towel as you sprinkle some of their meal into each roll. Even using a lickety mat can encourage your dog’s change of mind to once fearful experiences. This also adds some different textures which also incorporates a sensory experience.

⭐️ Toys and Puzzles: Teaching your dog games like tug work in other areas of enrichment like training and social interaction. Learning new ways of solving a problem raises confidence as well as a deep sense of relaxation. Also, make sure to teach your dog giving breaks during play is also desireable so your dog enjoys settling and resetting. This also builds in meeting the social needs of your dogs too.

⭐️ Environmental: Change of scenery can enhance your dog’s life just like us. Consider exploring a new hiking spot as a staycation for your dog. Exploring new environments is exciting as well as perfect bonding trip with you. Adding in a decompression walk with a long line can also give your dog some level of freedom to sniff about and take in the experience.

⭐️ Social: Bonding with you is the best! Also, if your dog enjoys being around other likeminded playmates and expresses shared play styles, schedule regular play dates. This can keep the play skills sharp, but work in a little exercise too.

⭐️ Training: Teaching your dog new cues and even incorporating cues like settle can help our dogs take breaks during play sessions, so your dog or a friend’s dog doesn’t become overly stimulated preventing play from becoming too intense.

Olive starting off with the basics on SUP!
Snuffle mats and DIY puzzle games

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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