Environmental Enrichment in Dogs
Have you ever wondered what constitutes for environmental enrichment and whether it is important for your pup?
Environmental enrichment is defined as the level of physical and social stimulation introduced to dogs in their living space. It is beneficial for their behaviour, mental state as well as physiology. It primarily is designed to fight boredom and to become their stress releaser.
One of the biggest challenges for nowadays pets is boredom and under stimulation. Dogs are left unsupervised for prolonged periods of time which causes them to ‘get into trouble’. Dogs that are bored will become destructive at home- they will excessively chew, dig, bark, may even escape from the backyard. Through boredom they may also develop self- destructive behaviours such as excessive licking, nibbling, scratching, sometimes even to the point of self- harm.
‘But we have a big backyard for our dog to play in…’- a very popular remark amongst the very many owners. Imagine that you are left in a room with nothing to entertain you with- no toys, no TV, no books, no radio. I’m sure after a while you will be bored too and will seek ways to amuse yourself. This is what is going on through your dogs head when left to their own devices for long periods of time.
This is why keeping your dog’s brain busy is crucial. Training, playtime, grooming, walks, physical exercise or mental games they all contribute to a stable and balanced dog.
Although creating an entertaining and fun environment for your dog is fairly easy it may take some thought to avoid developing new behavioural problems. Be mindful that if your dog is food obsessed you don’t leave it in places where you don’t want your dog to be. Make sure you put it in a dispensing toy or a kong. Some type of food such as raw bones should only be given while supervised in case of choking or if the bone gets stuck.
So let’s be creative, and inventive! Let's make a fun and happy environment for your dog and stay pawsitive!