Canine Enrichment is definitely a buzz word at the moment. Have you wondered what it is all about?

Well, simply put, it is about stimulating your dog in other ways apart from physical exercise; exercising your dogs  brain and giving them something to do that they will find rewarding. This is proven to reduce stress, promote calm behaviour and build your dogs self confidence. Very good for anxious dogs, helping them feel more confident and able to self soothe and settle.  Mental stimulation is also tiring for your dog which can be really good if you are only able to give limited exercise due to injury, for example, or if they are on crate rest.

A quick and simple way to give your dog some enrichment is with  a chew. I personally like to keep everything as natural as possible so use a combination of an Antler,  a Yak chew or an Olive wood.

The wood is incredibly dense so really gives a satisfying chew, it is sanded smooth and infused with olive oil. It is harvested from sustainable sources too. These three types of chew in particular are extremely good for oral hygiene and teeth care which can help prevent tartar build up and cleans the teeth right up to the gum line, helping to prevent smelly breath.

We tend to do a lot of food related activities in our household. We have various sized Kongs, we have the K9-connectables medium starter pack and we have the puzzle pack.

I use a combination of both toys and sometimes fill all of it and join all the pieces together; sometimes I just use the puzzle pack and join 2 pieces. Either way I always freeze them to make them last longer.

You can use a variety of stuffing from things you have left over in the fridge such as carrots or some fruits (always double check your items are dog safe) grated cheese is a good one, I often use soft cheese as a topping or binder.  I will take some of their allowance from their evening meal and use that.

 

Here I have chopped up some JR Pate – I LOVE this product, I use it for everything.

I spread on it a licki mat, chop it and take it out on walks as a training treat (its such high value) I use it on their dinner for a topping and always use it in the food toys.

There are lots of flavours to choose and different sized packs.  I like to keep a variety of the smaller ones at home to give plenty of variety and one pack will easily do two toys and its such great value for money.

 

I mixed it up with a dollop of peanut butter from Woof butter stuffed the toys, then froze it for a couple of hours.  These kept both my dogs very happy and busy for a good 30-40 minutes which was great allowing me to have some quiet time to make some calls.  Once they finished both of them headed straight to bed for a good nap, happy and content.

Another thing I love to do, is to make the treat game more interesting and last longer – I thread some natural treats from our dog deli Treat box through the centre and freeze it in place, or poke some sprats in the top and freeze.  This gives more taste and texture and keeps the game interesting. In this example there is some pork spaghetti (pig intestine) poked through the centre of the Kong.

 

There are loads of free ways to give enrichment to your dog, try some things at home, like saving the cardboard inner from your loo rolls or kitchen roll.  Fill these with your dogs kibble or some treats, bend the tops over and hide them around the house, behind the sofa, under a cushion etc.

Let your dogs sense of smell sniff out the treats.  There are loads of ideas and tips to be found on this group on Facebook.