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I define canine enrichment as providing dogs with active mental and/or physical stimulation to help alleviate unwanted behaviors. Canine enrichment is most commonly used when a dog is left alone, either in a kennel, yard or house, but can also be used when you are present with the dog. Most pet dogs spend many hours alone, due to family work and life commitments. Some dogs seem to do quite well when left alone, but many dog develop poor behaviors due to boredom anxiety and frustration. Enrichment provides the dog with entertainment and there are many products and methods that may be used---puzzle toys, pacifiers, olfactory games, to name a few.
Providing mental stimulation is very important, but it is just as important to provide the dog with what he needs physically, to be more calm and relaxed when left alone. Daily exercise and mental stimulation is a critical part of any canine wellness program. My favorite saying is:
“A tired and mentally stimulated dog is a well behaved dog.”
One of the greatest ways we can enrich our dogs’ lives is through Play. Let’s face it, we all love to play and dogs are no different. Each dog is different in their preferences for play…Some dogs love inter-active, assertive and intense play, while others prefer alone time, chewing on a bone. Dogs need daily opportunities to ‘cut loose’ and have fun and there are a myriad of products and toys available to help facilitate play. Toy manufacturers hire savvy marketing companies to promote particular toys that may not be the best or healthiest option for your dog. Some toys can be harmful, if ingested.
Don’t just ‘live’ with your dog, ‘deal’ with your dog, or ‘put up with your dog’. Learn how to play with your dog and learn to enjoy their company! Let me help you learn what products may be best for you and your dog. It is my mission to help every dog owner learn to love playtime with their dog and look forward to it!