Hello everyone! My name is Katie and I’m the Enrichment Counsellor on staff at Furbaby Pet care. Have you been following our social media? Last week we put out five videos answering five frequently asked questions about canine enrichment. Now I want to explain each answer in more detail for you! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy learning about how to ensure a well-balanced life for your fur baby.
What exactly is enrichment?
Enrichment comes in many (many) forms! It’s amazing how easy it is to apply this to your dog’s life. First ask yourself this: what does my dog like to do? Your dog might love sniffing around while on walks or be highly food motivated. Or you could have a dog that loves playing with other dogs. All of these examples are forms of enrichment for your dog. Any activity that allows your dog to nurture their natural instincts IS enrichment! A dog that gets to lean into their instincts allows your dog to feel more fulfilled. These instincts include playing, scavenging, sniffing, problem solving, socializing as well as physical movement. All of these activities ensure that your dog lives a happy and well-balanced life!
What are the benefits of enrichment for my dog?
There are many (many) benefits of enrichment for your dog! As I explained above, a dog that is able to nurture their natural instincts ensures the dog is satisfied in all areas. Dogs have physical, cognitive, and emotional needs. They’re complex beings! Sometimes when you hear someone say: “I walked my dog for an hour and he’s still so energetic”, it’s likely because the dog needs some sort of mental stimulation to be totally satisfied. Have you ever been sitting at home and notice your dog staring at you? A LOT? Does your dog pant excessively even when they haven’t been exercising? What about yawning out of context? All of these behaviours are called stress signals. Not all dogs will approach you and cry when they’re stressed! Other things to look for are calming signals your dog may be using to help themselves when they are stressed. These behaviours include frequent paw licking, licking something (anything) close to them and also licking their lips. Dogs will frequently demonstrate these kinds of behaviours when their needs aren’t being met properly. If you’re sitting at home thinking,” my dog does that all the time!”, don’t worry! Furbaby Pet care is here to help you with your enrichment needs.
Can enrichment help with problematic behaviours at home?
The answer to that question is yes! Did you know that when your dog gets into your garbage at home, it’s frequently because they’re just following their natural scavenging instincts? Tasty food in there also helps for a food motivated pooch! Did you just lose another pair of your shoes to a dog that just can’t stop chewing them up? Dogs can become incredibly destructive when they’re left with little mental stimulation. Boredom is usually the cause of these types of behaviours. A bored dog could turn into a problematic dog. And that’s when you’re guaranteed to come home to the “I’m so sorry” eyes looking back at you. The good news is that boredom related behaviours are easily managed with a dog that is receiving the proper mental stimulation.
Is enrichment the same for all dogs?
There are so many different dog breeds out there – literally hundreds! Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. When you put a chihuahua next to a great Dane, it’s hard to believe they’re even a part of the same species they’re so different! Because of this vast difference in size, there is also a vast difference in needs! Their enrichment programs would look much different. Another example of breed-based enrichment would be bully breeds. These dogs belong to the brachycephalic family which is just a fancy word for saying they have a flat nose. These kinds of dogs don’t have the most amazing sense of smell and are more sight driven. For this reason, these guys would have a program that focused less on nose work and more on problem solving, playing, socializing and exercise. However, a very intellectually advanced dog like a border collie would need lots of nose work activities, social play, cognitive stimulation as well as physical activities. Each dog has their own set of needs and will need a custom program. As the dogs get used to each activity and their skill level changes, so does the program. The program will evolve with your fur baby as they advance! The goal is to set your dog up for success and to make them happy!
What enrichment activities will you be offering at Furbaby Pet care?
We are so excited for the launch of Furbaby Pet Care’s Enrichment Program. Over the last few months, we have been putting in a lot of time and effort into making Furbaby more than just an average daycare. We know that we already have the social interaction aspect of enrichment down! Our daycare facility is an amazing way for your dog to socialize with their friends and get some serious playtime in. However, we know that’s not always enough. That’s why we are starting this program, we are dedicated to helping your dog live their best life! We will have an obstacle course, treadmill services, slow feeders, scent-work games, sight-work games…seriously the list goes on! We are so excited to implement this program into our daycare to ensure your fur baby is feeling happy and fulfilled.
There you have it folks! Five frequently asked questions and answers about Canine Enrichment. We are looking forward to getting our program operating starting this April! Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions for us. We are happy to answer them! Stay tuned to our social media this month while we post activities, we have planned every week! Finally, we are having a “Meet the Enrichment Counsellor” day coming up on February 21st from 3-5pm. That Sunday I’ll be on campus ready to chat with you about your own Enrichment Program as well as answer any questions you might have!
All the best!