We all love our dogs dearly, but sometimes it can be hard to know how to tire them out! Walks are important for physical exercise but there is so much more to it than that. So, here are some ideas for enrichment for your dog.
High amounts of exercise can create athletes who are increasingly difficult to wear out. By focusing on mental stimulation dogs generally calm down and wear out more quickly.
Sniffing games are very tiring. Try hiding your dog’s favourite toy or treat around your house or garden a few times. Or scatter their kibble in the grass so they are searching for their meals. There are lots of food dispensing toys available but they can be expensive and dogs often work them out quickly. Make your own out of cardboard boxes and packaging paper, kitchen roll tubes or upside down plant pots. Be safe – consult a professional before using food items if your dog may guard food.
When you go for a walk, pick areas where your dog can take their time sniffing and mooching.
Check out the video below with Max and Ernie showing how to put recycling to good use and a great doggy use for a ball pit! Subscribe to the channel for new enrichment, training and behaviour videos as they come out.
- Teaching your dog a new trick, such as going to and standing/sitting on a step, wall or tree stump is a good way of using brain and body.
- Teach them to step from one object to another and do tricks on them too!
- Teach them to weave in and out of your legs
- Or run around a tree or post and back.
- Teach them to touch their nose to your hand, their chin to your flat palm or paw to your hand.
- Teach them to ‘sit pretty’ with both paws up – transform this to hands up to fingers pointing like a gun, followed by a super quick lie flat as you “Bang!”
Using your dog’s brain gets them thinking. Interactive games or training increases their focus on you too.
Pick a nice simple game to start, and get going! Reach out to a qualified trainer for help if you get stuck – there has never been an easier time to access training help wherever you are! Check out the We Teach Pets YouTube channel for more ideas for dog enrichment: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyXiT8PAfSxXbE7ze-9J5ow/
I am a Clinical Animal Behaviourist based in the Nottingham area – however, with the success of online training you can be anywhere in the world as long as you have your dog and a device with an internet connection! Get in touch to see how I can help https://weteachpets.com/contact-me/