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The Power of Enrichment

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Daily enrichment is just as important as walks, playing, and training with your puppy! To ensure you have a thriving pup in your care, it is advised that you balance the enrichment you provide and not leave out any of the Six Sections of Enrichment: Feeding, Toy, Social, Cognitive, Physical, and Sensory.


FEEDING Enrichment:

— Frozen Kongs (stuff kong with blended veggie or fruit, sardines, pumpkin, yogurt, etc.)

— Puzzle feeders/treat dispensing toys.

— Long lasting chews such as antlers, Himalayan Yak Chews, raw marrow bones, etc.

— Cut up some fruits and veggies into small pieces and toss into a kiddie pool on a hot day.

— Hand feed your pup's meals. This is a great way to bond and build trust! It can also work on resource guarding behaviors!


TOY Enrichment: objects that can be manipulated in some way (explored via feet, tail, and/or mouths) always taking age into consideration.

— Flirt poles

— Fetch

— Tug

— Hide and search in your yard or home


SOCIAL Enrichment: provides opportunities for your dog to spend time with other dog's (or animals) and people in new and different environments.

— Shopping at pet friendly stores (hardware stores, garden nurseries, pet stores, etc.)

to practice your manners and obedience skills!

— Bring your dog to work with you if you can!

— Walk around a busy park, store front/parking lot, or beach and work on focus with manners, distractions, etc.

— Play dates will other well-mannered pups.

— Drop off with a trusted friend or parent for the day.


COGNITIVE Enrichment: provides opportunities for problem solving and thinking through games/training.

— Nosework

— Hide and Seek (dogs can easily learn how to find each family member by name which is a great bonding exercise that also physically tires them).

— Puzzle toys


PHYSICAL Enrichment: enhances the dog's living space by adding or changing complexity to the environment.

— Provide a kiddie pool (for playing and splashing fun)

— Providing a designated "dig-pit" (such as a kiddie pool filled with sand or soil)

— Pop-up tunnels, jumps, weave poles, cots and table tops

— Trips to the playground (you can assist them in walking over strange surfaces, uneven/unstable platforms, work on balance, body conditioning, etc.)


SENSORY Enrichment: enrichment that will stimulate any of the 5 senses!

— Go for a "sniff walk" and allow your dog to stop and smell what they want to gather the information they seek (this is great to allow relaxing walk times vs. always in a structured heel position).

— You can buy flavored bubbles that are safe for your dog!

— Herbs and spices. Rosemary, mint, and cinnamon are non-toxic and can be added in small amounts to toys to encourage sniffing, or instill a calming effect on bedding during more stressful times.

— Farm animal scents! Go to a farm or heavily "animal scented" location and play/explore.

— Cut up high value treats, such as hot dogs, into small pieces and scatter in your yard (or house) and let your dog search for them. (note: take proper precautions if you have multiple dogs in the house)

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