By Penelope Milne, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA
Of course you are providing the best food and veterinary care – but what else does your buddy need to live his best life?
- Social time with you and -if he is dog-friendly- with dog pals
- Exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming, fetch, frisbee, flirt pole… Not all activities suit all dogs, but all dogs need exercise.
- Mental exercise/enrichment activities. Dogs need mental exercise as much as they need physical exercise! Enrichment activities can reduce stress and may reduce anxiety and the risk of behavior problems
- Enrichment can be an adventure, such as a Sniffari (rather than a tightly structured walk at heel), or a hike, or a trip to Dog Beach, or to Camp
- It can be training – learning new skills – like agility, or scent work- via positive reinforcement
- Nose work is great enrichment, and has the added benefit that it is often very calming to dogs. One simple version of nose work — Let him use his nose to find treats (or his dinner) in a snuffle mat.
- Food-stuffed toys are fun enrichment, too, especially on busy working days when outdoor adventures are not possible
- Check out toys like the Kong, Buster Cube, Toppl, Everlasting Treat Ball, and more.
(Note: If you are looking for new & creative ways to introduce mental or physical exercise in your pet’s routine, please talk to our front desk about our Doggie Day Camp and training services. Both options are great ways to tire out your pet and fulfill their need for stimulation. As we like to say, a tired pup is a good pup!)
How is your dog living his best life? What are your favorite enrichment activities for your dog?