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Enrichment is an ongoing tool to help to reduce stress, maintain mental, physical and emotional health, and keeps an animal occupied in constructive ways. It encourages an animal’s natural behaviours and can help to strengthen the human-canine bond. It is an ongoing process and is only enriching if the animal chooses to interact so you may have to find the enrichment that works for your canine, and switch them up to keep them stimulated and engaged.
Imagine being placed in a strange environment with new smells and sounds with nothing to keep you occupied. Day after day you see the same things, smell the same smells and hear the same noises. Even your meals are the same. How stressed and frustrated would you feel? This is why canine enrichment is very important in a shelter setting, but is just as important at home.
Some great examples of canine enrichment are;
- Walks – try to change up the route you walk. This will keep your canine engaged with the new smells and sights around them
- Exercise – this can be throwing a ball or a Frisbee with them, enrolling in agility classes, or going for a swim in a pool, river or lake. Kiddie pools are also great for outdoor playtime.
- Enrichment toys – Kongs are great toys that can be filled with numerous tasty rewards such as peanut butter, cheese whiz, or treats. A peanut butter Kong is always a favourite for the canines here at QHS
- Treat dispensing toys – Treat dispensing toys will stimulate your dog mentally and make them work for a reward.
- Grooming – Social time with your canine through grooming will help strengthen your bond.
- Hiding treats – Hiding a high reward treat in an area and having your dog sniff it out is a great way to stimulate them mentally and physically.