Worried about your dog's 'social life' during COVID19?
Canine enrichment can help! What do I mean by enrichment? Most of us understand that a dog requires physical and social enrichment, and we normally do this by walking our pooches or catching up with their doggy buddies…
But did you know, by adding in mentally stimulating activities (or cognitive enrichment), we can enhance our dogs lives massively.
In the current climate, it’s difficult for us, and therefore our dogs, to catch up with our friends. Although some of us are happy with’ Netflix and chill’ or dogs should live active lives. During the Covid19, they’re potentially missing out on the social enrichment, that would usually built in to their routine, so now, more than ever, providing mental stimulation, extra enrichment and a routine for our dogs, is super duper important for their well-being!
So, how can we easily build enrichment into their our daily routines:
Even just a small change to how we feed them, can have an impact. Ditch the bowl!
Kongs- put your dogs usual food into a Kong or feeding toy. Let them use ther problem solving skills it get it out. Make this fairly easy to start with, then build up to harder levels, for example, freezing them first.
Towel Roll- using some dried treats, use an old towel and drop in some treats whilst rolling it up. Let your dog figure out how to unroll it and eats his rewards.
Scatter feed- using your dogs usual food, instead of placing in a bowl, throw it out into the grass and allow your dog to forage for it. Using their nose to find it, really tires their brain out.
Muffin tins- If, like me, you feed raw, that cant be stuffed in a Kong and you don’t fancy scattering raw food around, separate out the ingredients in to a muffin or cupcake tin. This allows your dog to forage for each ingredient separately, instead of just scoffing it down. For example, chicken wing in one compartment, broccoli in another, raw egg in another and so forth.
Nosework- my personal favourite. Engaging a dog in searching with their nose , tires their brain and body. This activity really is as simple as grabbing a few cardboard boxes, any will do, placing them on the floor with treats in and sending your dog to “find it!”. The beauty of this game is that all dogs can do it. Click the picture and it will take you to my video, of how to start this simple game.
Focus games- I’ve put together a video of 3 really simple beginner level ffocus games to get you started. By starting these games indoors and then in the garden, they will help you gain your dogs focus, when you do head outside on walks. Click on the picture to take you there.
Tricks- teach your dog a new trick. Start with a beginner level trick. First you will need a marker word, so you can mark when yourdog has gotten it right. I have prepared a video to show you how to condition that marker and how to get started with your own dog, just click on the picture below.
Then you can crack on with a few beginner level tricks, your dog will love it! I have several on my You tube channel but there are lots out there on the internet to try!If you have any questions, i'd love you to join me on Facebook and feel free to ask away!