Tips for dog enrichment
With the holiday season at an end and families returning to work or school, your family pet might be feeling a little lonely and bored. Luckily, our expert Puppy Raising Advisor Kirsty has some top tips to support the mental enrichment and stimulation of our beloved pooches.
Our amazing trainers and Puppy Raisers use several tricks and techniques to keep our puppies-in-training and working dogs happy and motivated. They like to provide our dogs with opportunities for thinking and problem-solving through games and toys, as well as social enrichment through trips to the dog park.
Read on for some simple and practical ways to provide enrichment for your dog each day.
Enrol your dog in DayCare
For pet owners who dread the thought of leaving their best friend alone all day, DayCare can provide peace of mind that your dog is safe, happy and well socialised. Pets return relaxed and thoroughly exhausted after a day of enrichment and play with their new best friends. Our state-of-the-art pet boarding facility, Beau’s Pet Hotel, is now offering DayCare and DayStay options for dogs. Best of all, profits from Beau’s Pet Hotel help Guide Dogs to continue providing services to South Australian living with disability.
A KONG is a mentally stimulating rubber toy that offers enrichment by helping satisfy the dogs' instinctual needs. KONGS come in a range of shapes, and sizes depending on the needs of the dog. A KONG filled with a few favourite treats is the PAWfect puzzle to keep your dog stimulated and occupied when they are having a quiet day at home. Stuff the KONG with dog-friendly peanut butter, grated carrot, or softened kibble to keep your dog busy and happy.
Ice blocks and frozen treats
In summer, our dogs-in-training love ice blocks. Fill up a plastic container, an ice cube tray or a Guide Dogs silicone mould with low-sodium stock, kibble, and grated carrot. Not only it will cool them down, but it also keeps them busy and happy!
Dogs love working for their food. A snuffle mat is a great enrichment toy for your dog (or cat). Scattering dry food in the snuffle mat encourages your dog's natural skills at sniffing and snuffling for food. You can easily make a snuffle mat yourself with just a rubber mat, fleece, and sharp scissors – your dog will love you for it!
Hide and seek
Ask your dog to stay, and then run and hide from them before calling their name. Treat generously when they find you. Hide and seek is a fun game for your dog where they can use their nose to sniff you out. It also builds a strong recall.
Whatever method of enrichment you try, just remember each dog is different, with unique personalities, interests, and motivations. You need to experiment and find what works for your dog. In return, you'll be rewarded with a happy dog and plenty of puppy love.