Dogs are an extended part of our families and demand a lot of attention. As an owner, you are responsible for your dog’s health and happiness but sometimes it’s difficult to understand what it is they actually find interesting.
With energy levels through the roof and a destructive nature if left bored, it’s important that you know how to enrich their life to prevent damage to your furniture! Here are four simple ways to do so, and hopefully you’ll see a big difference in their temperament afterwards.
Enhance their surroundings
Adding new objects and textures to your dog’s environment is a great way to pique curiosity and get them moving around. Having activities around the home to get involved with can reduce their stress levels and promote good health. It can also reduce bad behaviour.
Making your pup’s environment interesting isn’t difficult. It can be as simple as hanging a mirror in the living room and hiding their favourite toys for them to find. You could even create an area that stimulates the senses. To do this, you should get a large dog bed and saturate it with pleasant scents like lavender or cinnamon.
Make them work for their food
Enrichment doesn’t just mean something is fun, it should also be slightly challenging so that it keeps your furry friend interested. When it comes to feeding time, they need to put their hunting and foraging skills to good use, employing the power of their nose and using their brain.
Again, this can be as simple as placing their food or kibble in a closed box and getting them to open it somehow. You can also buy food trays with bumps and ridges, which force them to solve a puzzle before eating.
This is particularly beneficial for dogs who need to slow down their eating. Alternatively, you can throw their food into the grass outside so that they have to use their nose to find where it has fallen.
Get them to be social
Dogs are very social creatures who need to spend time amongst other animals and humans. Those that spend many hours alone each day can become highly stressed and anxious. Regardless of whether this is the park, a pet shop, or even just a play date in the garden, social enrichment will keep your best friend healthy and happy.
Aim to provide your dog with time to interact with others, including those who are familiar and those who aren’t. However, do base this on your dog’s personality, as some may not be comfortable with this. For example, nervous or aggressive dogs won’t react well in these circumstances so always keep personal boundaries in mind when thinking of enrichment activities.
Toys, toys, and more toys
Whether DIY or store-bought, toys are key to a dog’s happiness. But what toys are best? Well, anything your pup can pull, tug, chew, squeak, or sink their teeth into. It doesn’t really matter what the puzzle is, as long as they are occupied and their mind is active.