Canine Enrichment: The W’s

February 3, 2020

Enrichment is a new buzz word in the dog community. It began awhile ago in the zoo world because the animals were being put in an unnatural environment and needed to satisfy some of the needs that are not met in captivity. Its slowly making its way into pet households and the results are speaking for themselves!

Why have we dedicated and entire month to enrichment on our Facebook Page and why should it even be on your radar as a pet owner?

two dogs on bench in the park
One of my favorite enrichment activities is a good long walk in the woods!

What is Enrichment?

Think about a feral dog or a stray dog in the woods. When they wake up in the morning, their first thought is “I must find food” They use their nose to track where the food has been, and finally catch sight of the food. Then they chase the food, catch the food, shake the food, tear the food apart, then eat.

How does your dog eat their food? I imagine that path is a little different for your house dog. The problem comes when we remember that dogs are still genetically wired to these behaviors. Enrichment allows your dog to satisfy those needs in a way that is socially acceptable. (Read: not releasing bunnies in your yard)

Why do you care?

Most of the phone calls we receive are from dog owners who are battling behaviors they don’t have a solution for. Its our job to get to the root of your dogs misbehavior and give you a path for improvement. Most of the time, enrichment helps satisfy many of your dogs needs, and helps to “fix” the misbehavior. Often, the root of the behaviors that need fixing, are boredom, stress, and lack of clear communication. Enrichment solves two out of three of those needs! By giving your dog something to do that taps into a need that their brain is searching for many of the unwanted behaviors disappear.

If your favorite stress relief activity is a hot bath, and your hot water heater is busted, you are going to get more stressed out. The same with runners who have to rest an injury. They are not always pleasant to be around because their mode of stress release is gone.

big black dog laying on the floor
After a little play time, and a good chew, Ayla is resting peacefully.

Dogs need to sniff, chase, catch, and tear to satisfy the need that their brain still thinks they have to do to survive. Hounds need to sniff, Malinois need to bite, Huskys need to run. Enrichment gives the dogs an appropriate way to satisfy those needs.

How do you start?

For starters sign up to get our free e-book on enrichment here! Inside is a calendar so you can follow along with us through the month of February, and post videos so we can also enjoy your dogs! If you need some ideas, we’ve already gotten started on the Facebook Page. Just scroll through and take a look!

About Us

At The Freckled Paw, we are committed to kindness towards both you and your dog. We understand that every dog and owner team is different and will have their own unique challenges. We pride ourselves in listening to your challenges and coming up with a plan that will help you reach your goals for your life with your dog. Let us help you navigate your challenges and come up with a plan that works!