Let's start with a Definition.
Enrichment is providing animals with needed environmental stimuli that satisfy their natural instincts, which promotes physical, psychological, and emotional well-being. It's not just for pets but humans too!
Enrichment provides an outlet for instincts such as chewing, digging, hunting, herding, or scent tracking. Without appropriate ways to use their natural gifts, dogs will often exhibit problem behaviours, boredom, or become stressed and anxious.
So read all the benefits of enrichment.
1. Enrichments Helps with Puppy Socialization
Enrichment toys and activities expose your puppy to a variety of sights, smells, sounds, and textures that help their brains develop. Problem-solving skills will help them grow into a resilient adult dog. The key to puppy enrichment is keeping everything positive and not letting them get too frustrated when solving puzzles. Start easy and slowly work your way up to harder and harder puzzle toys.
2. Enrichment Helps Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Shelter dogs are given environmental enrichment to reduce stress. A recent study found "the use of environmental enrichment methods through different types of games and toys in shelters decreased signs of depression and stereotyped behaviour of kenneled dogs." Providing enrichment for our dogs at home can help with issues such as separation anxiety, and make events such as moving or large gatherings of houseguests much less stressful.
3. Enrichment Prevents Your Dog From Getting Bored
Chewing, licking, sniffing and shredding are the four most common behaviours that dogs engage in when trying to reduce stress or boredom, or to calm themselves. It's no wonder that dogs are so often destructive when left alone. Providing enrichment that satisfies these behaviours will help prevent unwanted behaviours (such as destructive chewing) that dogs engage in when they're looking for something to do.
4. Enrichment Provides Physical and Mental Exercise for Your Dog
Enrichment games and puzzles are a great way to give elderly dogs with painful conditions or physical limitations a way to get in some exercise. Same goes for young puppies that shouldn't be engaging in strenuous activity until their growth plates have fully grown.
Dogs need exercise, but high levels of physical activity can sometimes harm their behaviour. Mental enrichment activities can help balance out physical exercise. It is important to balance physical and mental stimulation. Dogs need to move their bodies every day, but high-intensity exercise like fetch, running and playing with other dogs increases adrenaline levels. Your dog needs you to provide a way to bring those adrenaline levels back down to normal after strenuous activities.
All of the above benefits of enrichment mean that your dog will be better behaved and an overall happier dog. Doing different enrichment activities with your dog strengthens your bond and is quite a mood booster for both canine and human!
Sweetie Tip: Stay tuned, next week we will share different enrichment activities to put a smile on your dog's face (and yours), because...
it's all about Dogs, it's all about Love, it's all about Sharing!