Enriching your dog’s life doesn’t have to be difficult!
Enrichment with Food
In my last post I told you about the confidence boosting abilities of food enrichment. In this post I want to share more ideas on how to make your dog’s meal times more enriching. This is not just for shy dogs; every dog I’ve met has loved to figure out food puzzles. Food puzzles drain energy and get your dog thinking. Do you have a dog that is always hyper and full of energy? Instead of giving your dog more exercise like fetch, running or super long walks, give him a food puzzle to solve. You will see that it will make him more relaxed and happier because he is using his brain, body and instincts to eat.
How to spice up your feeding rituals:
Eating from a Kong
Moistened frozen kibble or a raw diet can be fed from a Kong. If your pup has always eaten from a bowl and all of a sudden you give him a frozen Kong, he will most likely be overwhelmed and won’t have fun with it. You may need to make it easier at first. First just stick dry kibble in a Kong. It’s super easy to get out and your dog will be successful. He might just look at you at first not knowing what to do, just give him a little help to get him to do it by himself. Soon he’ll be mastering that first step. Now you can make it a little harder. You can wet the kibble and stick it in the Kong. This will make it just a little harder to get out. After a few days this will also be easy for your pooch. Now you can make it really hard and freeze the wet kibble in the Kong. Here’s a tip: If you have a brand of kibble that doesn’t stick well together, mix with some unsweetened applesauce instead of water, or pumpkin puree, and then freeze.
My dogs sometimes spend 30 minutes on a Kong. That’s 30 minutes of quiet, not trying to chew something, not bugging you to go for a walk, not barking….
Foraging in a Kiddie Pool
I love enriching my dogs’ life and giving them fun stuff to do! One example is throwing a handful of kibble into a kiddie pool filled with balls.
Kibble Stuffed in a Toy
How about sticking some fabric and soft toys into a Hollee roller ball with some treats? Dogs can have so much fun getting the toys and fabric out and figuring out how to get to those treats. Be sure to watch your dog when they are doing food puzzles to make sure they don’t eat the fabric or any other things that aren’t supposed to be swallowed.
VIDEO Eating Different Kinds of Foods
There are so many things you can do with your dog’s food to make their life more interesting and stimulating. Give your dog some healthy and interesting choices in their food bowl so they can experience different flavors and textures. Please make sure to consult your veterinarian or nutritionist about what kinds of foods are safe to give to your dog. For example, onions, grapes, raisins and substances containing chocolate can be toxic for dogs, so please don’t feed these.
Kibble Scatter and Kibble Trails
You don’t need to buy any fancy toys to enrich your dog’s life! You can simply sprinkle kibble in the yard for your dog to find, or make kibble trails around the house.
Dogs that have stimulation in their lives tent to be better at problem solving, have more confidence and less behavior problems.
Looking for more enrichment ideas? Check out Pet Harmony. Needing help with your dog’s behavior? Book a training session with us!