We recently caught up with our instagram pals @Badger_Border_Collie to chat about their amazing new e-book and chat all things enrichment for your dog. Together, we're stoked to bring you some simple and effective ways to help enrich your dog’s life and prevent boredom and destructive behaviours! But, first things first - Let's talk Enrichment with the very clever author and all round animal lover, Lee
Enrichment for dogs can seem like a complicated topic, however to put it simply enrichment is about incorporating ideas, activities and daily care in ways that help to enrich your dogs overall life and wellbeing. They may be fun, calming, help to desensitise them to particular situations or encourage your dog to use his brain in new ways.
Not all ideas will be beneficial for all dogs. Example: a reactive dog may find some enrichment ideas extremely stressful, while social dogs may find them especially positive and calming. Think about your dog before providing any kind of enrichment activity and think about what kind of benefit you're hoping to see by providing each activity in different areas. I firmly believe ALL dogs can benefit from some form of daily enrichment and that may look different for every dog. So try different activities, at different times on different days and continually re-evaluate!
KEEP A FEW THINGS IN MIND
✨ Keep it Simple - Your dog doesn't scroll Instagram and compare it's life with picture perfect. Start small and build your bond together!
📦 Use what you have - Please don't feel like you need an unlimited budget for enrichment. Love and attention are the two main ingredients.
😄 Let go of the need to control - Present the idea, but release the expectation for a particular outcome, it only causes stress and frustration for you and your dog.
Now for the fun stuff, we've put together a few fun ideas and a super tasty recipe for your to try some enrichment at home for your pup.
Lick mat meals or a quick distraction, needing to cool down on a hot Summers day or an after training treat. Not only are there endless options for spreads and toppings but these days you can find so many different lick mat styles too. Original flat ones, paw prints, wobble bowls, UFO's, bones, toys and so many more. Some lick mats come with suction caps on the bottom. These are a great distraction for dogs who do not enjoy bath time or grooming. By sticking them to a window, fridge or bath tub, they can lick away while you wash or brush with far less worry.
Licking is so incredibly soothing for dogs! It's been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and boredom. Also beneficial for their dental health and hygiene. A great form of mental enrichment, as the creases and tiny holes are a challenge to remove food from. Licking can be as tiring and calming as taking your dog for a walk. Slow feeding in this way also aids in digestion and reduces the chance of vomiting or bloat for dogs who eat their meals too fast.
RAINY DAY IDEAS
Some dogs love the rain, others hate it. Regardless it can limit outdoor time when the weather is rotten, so I keep a little basket of tricks up my sleeve for wet or snowy days. Think lick mats, indoor training or obstacle courses, snuffle balls or rolling treats up into a towel and tie them in a knot to untangle and lots of snuggles. Some fun ideas include:
📦 Cardboard Shredding - Prep a box with cardboard, toilet rolls, scrunched newspaper, egg cartons or other recycling items ready for your dog to shred.
🎾 Muffin Trays - Everyone has a muffin tray or an op shop to grab one super cheap. Add some treats into each hole and hide them with some toys.
TRY A FUN RECIPE!
Studies have shown that adding fresh fruit and vegetables to your dogs diet can have many amazing health benefits regardless of whether you feed them mostly kibble or meat. Please keep in mind, when it comes to changing your dogs diet, always start slow and gradually make changes over the space of a few weeks to help their digestive system adjust.
Pumpkin Tahini Bites 🎃
- 1 x cup butternut pumpkin
- 1 x cup orange sweet potato
- 1 x tbsp hulled tahini
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Peel and chop the pumpkin and sweet potato into cubes.
- Steam until soft. Drain and leave to cool.
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Pour into pumpkin moulds and freeze overnight. Add 1 or 2 to your dogs meals.
Thanks so much to the team @Badger_Border_Collie for sharing these fantastic enrichment ideas. We hope you enjoyed them too and you can go ahead and try out these ideas and watch your dog's tail wag with joy! You can also explore lots of great content on Badger's Instagram and grab a copy of their e-book here! x