Find A Pro | Contact Us | Print Page | Report Abuse | Sign In | Join
Canine Enrichment – A Challenge to Improve Your Dog’s Life

Canine Enrichment – A Challenge to Improve Your Dog’s Life

If you’re like us here in Colorado you’re ready for spring. Now admittedly, we’ve really only had one month of snow and cold weather but even the dogs are over it. What do you do the keep the pups stimulated when the weather is too cold or too icy to spend much time outside? As we all know a tired dog is a happy dog but when you just can’t get them tired physically you need to turn to mental stimulation which leads to being mentally tired. If you’re like me once I get home from the gym I’m ready to take on the world! My endorphins have been pumping and it’s time to take action, well it’s not really any different with our furry friends. How many times have you done a brisk daily dog walk with a clients’ pup only to be messaged that he just doesn’t seem tired? The answer is he probably really isn’t, but try throwing in a “sniff walk” or sniff time to your time and see what happens. Our dogs now lead the best lives they have in the history of time. They sleep inside on memory foam beds, they eat organic fancy food doled out to them on a regular schedule, they have hired babysitters and are members of the family (which by the way they should be) but they no longer have the thrill of the hunt, a job they were bred to do or even a wide open expanse to just spend hours sniffing and exploring. Don’t you think they get bored? Let’s start to add some mental stimulation back into their lives.

If you have snow covered yards or walking trails try tossing some cheerios or kibble in the snow bank and allow them to snow dive (while leashed of course) after the tasty morsels. Slow that walk down and time to sniff and follow a scent for half your walk. I often hear from my walkers and clients alike that all he/she wants to do is sniff, so? They’re doing what comes naturally, getting a message from the mastiff up the street that he’s been by, smelling the scent of the rabbit whose burrow is not far away, or the musky scent of a deer who happened just off the path earlier in the day. All these messages inundate their olfactory receptors and spark that frontal lobe which means mentally they’re energized and happy.

Likewise you can work on tiring them mentally indoors, items such as brain puzzles, licki mats and snuffle mats can be purchased or if you’re a crafty type, made. Recently, I made a snuffle ball for Sadie for a investment of a couple hours and a grand total of $12 with enough materials left over to make at least one more if not more. I can tell you Sadie has found much pleasure hunting for her kibble and treats amidst the deep folds of the Snuffle Ball. She actively seeks it out in the evening and has a great time sniffing and searching the folds long after it’s empty. Remember it’s still energizing her brain with the residual smells and she is physically tired after working on it well into the evening.

Do your pups and yourselves a huge favor, enrich their brains and lives by adding interactive toys, puzzles to a cold day, challenge them with some impromptu nose work while out on a walk, make mealtime more of a hunt to elevate their mental stimulation. Don’t let your dogs’ life become boring and mundane they’ll thank you for it and reward you with being a more balanced companion.

#snuffleball, #snufflemat, #canineenrichment, #lickimat