Enrichment is Everything

February 9, 2022

Remind me what enrichment is?

Sure thing, reader. Enrichment for our pets is anything that gets their brain working and using their senses similarly to how they would in the wild. This yields feelings of satisfaction and relaxation.

Looking for easy ways to dip your toe into the world of dog enrichment? We’ve got you.

You can certainly purchase pre-made enrichment toys but if you want to get the feel for how your dog will like it, here is a curated list of things already in your house that can have a second life as an enrichment project for your pup.

Egg Cartons

How to Use It:

Stuff it with some kibble, treats, and balled-up paper or receipts, then close it and encourage your dog to rip it open and eat the goodies inside.

Pro-tip: you can also use any of those Amazon boxes piling up in the corner if you don’t have an egg carton!

Encouraging your dog to be destructive may seem the like opposite of what you want. However, under watchful supervision, letting your dog be constructively destructive means they get to do what they want and avoids putting stress on you. Plus, anything that encourages thought and scent-work gets their brain firing and even more pooped afterwards.

Old T-Shirts, Blankets, or Towels

Make a sustainable snuffle basket

How to Use It:

Take a plastic laundry basket and throw in some old blankets and towels (bonus points if you tie some into knots) and hide some treats and/or kibble deep in the crevices or just lay them in between the layers of fabric. Make it as easy or as difficult as you think your dog can handle. Then, place it on the floor and let your dog go to town!

This idea is great for a rainy day because it gets their mind and body working and takes up very little space.

Tennis-ball Muffins, Anyone?

Come again?

How to Use It:

Take a muffin tin, treats, and tennis balls and layer the treats under the tennis balls inside each muffin indentation.

The idea here is to put their sniffers to the test and place treats under some of the tennis balls but not all – this is a simple puzzle that requires thought, scent-work, and movement.

Back to Basics

Training can get a bad reputation as being boring or difficult. In reality, it can be tons of fun for you and your dog and open up a ton of possibilities of things you can do together.

Do not underestimate revisiting the basics, taking 20 minutes or so a few times a week to reward them for easy commands like “sit” or “paw” and slowly tackle one new ‘trick’ at a time. 

It can easily become part of your daily routine to exercise not only your pup’s body but their mind! It is convenient and easily accomplished even in smaller living arrangements. Plus, it is rewarding for you as a pet owner to feel like they truly get something out of the experience.

Once you see how happy and tired they are from these brain games, you’ll be hooked. Try some today!