We've all heard of dog enrichment, and we know we ought to be providing lots of options to our pups to ensure they are fulfilled and happy, but what exactly is enrichment? And how can we be sure we are meeting our dogs' needs?
Enrichment activities need to be practical and engaging for your dog, and a part of their daily life. Enrichment is an activity that challenges your dog’s mind and senses while creating positive emotions in the dog over time.
Often, when we think of canine enrichment, we think of taking them for a walk, or giving them a toy, and while these are important aspects of your dogs life, they are not the whole story.
Canine enrichment encompasses many different areas of your dogs life, including:
- Physical: Exercise
- Social: People, places, animals
- Cognitive: Brain games
- Environment: homes, parks, restaurants, shops
- Sensory: taste, smell, touch etc
We can help our dogs be happier and healthier by giving them opportunities to express their natural behaviors. Providing enrichment to our dogs requires us to recognize this important connection between natural behaviors and well-being.
Here at Patch&Pops, we have several enrichment toys which will aid in many of the key canine enrichment categories. Our Snuffle Balls and Snuffle Mats provide physical, cognitive and sensory enrichment.
Snuffle mats are designed to allow dogs to explore the world with their sense of smell, which is 10,000-100,000 more prominent that that of a human!
Using snuffle mats can help dogs to:
Provide mental stimulation.
Encourage slower eating habits.
Initiate sniffing and foraging centers of the brain, which are pleasurable for the dog.
Create mental stimulation for dogs on restricted exercise.
Did you know 15 minutes of sniffing burns as many calories as an hour walk? And a puppy on a snuffle mat is the cutest, calorie burning treadmill imaginable.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. By engaging in mental stimulation games with your dog on a consistent basis, you can make your dog happier and less likely to engage in negative behavior like chewing furniture or digging holes. With that in mind, doesn't it make sense to give our pooches stimulating things to do that will make our dogs happier and healthier?