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Meeting Your Dog's Needs with Enrichment

This month’s topic, enrichment, is one of my favorites. There are many definitions of enrichment but, at its heart it is how we meet all of our dogs needs so they can flourish in our human-centric world. Every training plan I write includes enrichment because it is so crucial to our dog’s well-being.

The enrichment we give our domestic animals (cats, goats, donkeys, horses, and other animals in our care can all have enrichment!) started with animals in zoos. Zookeepers began giving the animals opportunities to perform species-specific behaviors in ways that kept them and the humans who tend to them safe. After implementing these enrichment plans, the zookeepers started seeing reductions in stress-related behaviors—like pacing for big cats and swaying for elephants—because the animals had more chances to express their natural behaviors often in bigger spaces.

For dogs those natural behaviors include foraging, chewing, sniffing, digging, chasing, and shredding. With enrichment we also give our dogs mental stimulation through puzzle toys and training, exercise like walks, hikes, and play, and help relaxing with music and massage.

For the next three weeks I'll explore different forms of enrichment, how we can implement them for our dogs, and what behaviors they might help address. In the final post of the month, I’ll include a range of resources for learning more about enrichment.

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Unknown member
Jun 02, 2023

Thanks Beth, your suggestions are always helpful and fun to read too!

Penny has a house guest, Scout, Cory's dog for several days 6 I think. It's easy since they get along so well, play allot, rest when need too. Scout has a crate she sleeps in at night that they bring over so that helps. Penny sleeps wherever she wants, one of 3 beds! Since we leave out dry food for Penny all the time they both can eat when they want and neither seems to overeat. Maybe that's because they are both small dogs.

Love to you Dave & Ralphie!!!!

Unknown member
Jun 02, 2023
Replying to

Do need some suggestions though. Scout definitely wants to be "top dog".

She sort of takes over and Penny is so sweet and docile seems ok. Nothing serious but annoying sometimes. When giving them any treat, if don't watch Scout, she gobbles hers down and tries to get Penny's. We just need to give them treats separately. She doesn't get aggressive, just would say pushy.

I"m sure she misses Cory so maybe that's part of it? 6 days this time, usually just part of a day if no one is home there, so not often really. Cory went to Mexico with his girlfriend Ariana, his mother Troye, her husband Steven, & Cory's two girls, Audrey, Adeline.

Interesing his serious girlfriend's…

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