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Encourage Natural Behaviors

Now is a great time to explore different enrichment opportunities with your dogs. Whether you are safe at home or busy on the front lines of keeping communities up and running, providing enrichment for your pets is a great way for both of you to decompress. My friends over at Ethical Canine in BC and I collaborated to create this fun graphic (below) to help give you some ideas of what some good enrichment options are. But where should you start? What if your dog just isn’t that into it? Keep it simple and start with behaviors your dog already has! Food motivation? Then hide some kibble around the house and encourage them to find it, use an old muffin tin to create a fun puzzle, or scatter treats in the lawn and help them search for it.

Does your dog destroy things? Harness that creativity and give them something to tear apart. I love egg cartons for this, they are non toxic incase your dog eats some of it, and you can close some kibble inside with some extra tissuepaper for a delicious challenge. Is your dog particularly playful? Hide some toys in the yard and race them to each toy. If you win, play with it for a little and then include them, if they win then celebrate with them! This also meets social needs of cooperative play that a lot of younger dogs have. Still looking for options? Build confidence by helping your dog learn how to explore new things. Change their environment up, or put some weird floor textures or a box. Encourage and reward them for interacting with it. With very young pups mirrors can be particularly weird. Have fun with the exploration, if they get nervous encourage with to walk away and try again on their own terms.

Still getting stuck? It‘s also okay to ask for assistance if there is something your dog isn’t quite getting. I have years of experience working with all types of animals to build up confidence and problem solving skills that owners are proud of!

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