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3 Simple Ways to Enrich Your Dog's Life

Aug 9 / Sally Gutteridge
Over the last few years canine enrichment has become a household term. Dogs get to play at everything from recycling boxes to a vast variety of snuffle rugs, treat dispensers to scenting sessions, which is great. Canine enrichment doesn’t need to be orchestrated all the time though, it can simply be making the most of an environment that dogs are so often rushed through.

Canine enrichment doesn’t need to be set-ups. It simply means doing something that enriches the dog’s life. So here are some ideas for the naturally occurring life enrichments and how we can work with the environment, easily, to meet the needs of our dogs.

Let Them Watch

Biologist Isla Fishburn tells us that watching is prevalent in wolf families, particularly with cubs. Young wolves are supported to watch new environmental stimulus for up to 30 minutes, whilst flanked by their adult family. How lovely it is that the wild cubs are safe, they choose their time to learn and the distance they learn it from. We can enrich our dogs lives simply by sitting with them while they watch the world go by, at a safe distance of their choosing.  

Let Them Check

Checking out things means sniffing most of the time. We have a wild fox visit our garden every night and she will leave a lot of natural scent around for the dogs to sniff and explore, from her tiny paws to the scent marking she likes to do. Our city garden is small but so enriching for the dogs because we feed wildlife in it, and the space is filled with the delicious scent of all sorts of species. Every day the dogs go out and check where the little fox lady visited and buried her food (usually in our flowerbeds) and that’s a lovely life enrichment where everyone wins.

Let Them Explore

Exploring is something that is easier for younger, faster dogs on walks, but older or slower dogs can miss out, simply because they are trying so hard to keep up. This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately as two of our dogs are small and slow and I’m often following them following my hubby so can see their rushing little legs. Even when we go to woodland and they are off the lead, the two little ladies can be so worried about being left behind that they barely get to sniff anything. We need to linger, and our dogs can really enjoy their walks. 

Ask yourself, do you linger long enough for your dog to chew the grass if they want to? Do you sit still so your dog can really explore, or do you think your dog walk is enough? If our exercise spoils our dog’s exploring, then we can always take them home and go out again. After all they don’t have very much so let’s make what they do have, as enriching as possible.

Do you use any other forms of natural enrichment?

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