Canine Enrichment – 5 Tips to Engage Your Dog’s Mind and Body
At Southeastern Guide Dogs, our working dogs must keep their minds and bodies sharp, and the canine enrichment exercises we offer our dogs can be applied to your dogs at home, too.
Five things you can do to challenge your dog’s mind and body:
- Puzzle play. Amazon online and local pet stores offer a variety of interactive toys and treat-dispensing puzzles for dogs, offering various challenge levels. Puzzles enable your dog to work his brain and enjoy the reward.
- Water play. On warm days, a plastic kiddie pool or a big backyard pool offers your dog the chance to exercise and experience a variety of sensations.
- Treat challenge. Smear a little peanut butter inside a hollow Kong toy, or mix the peanut butter with kibble bits before spreading inside the Kong. Freeze overnight. Your dog will stay engaged figuring out how to reach the treats.
- Brush-out. Take your dog outdoors on a leash, and spend time brushing out his coat in a slow, methodical pace. It feels good!
- Relaxation station. Put on low, soothing music; add lavender oil to a room diffuser; and massage your dog’s muscles in small, circular motions. At Southeastern Guide Dogs, we use the Tellington TTouch™ approach, a gentle combination of specific touches that release tension and increase body awareness in our dogs.
Have fun together! Human interaction is the best kind of enrichment. Remember, you are your dog’s favorite thing in the whole, wide world!