Enrichment for dogs is fun! It is the process of providing mental and physical stimulation for your four legged friend. Keeping this stimulation prevents your dog from becoming bored and actively encourages behaviour that is natural to them i.e. using their noses to detect various smells in scent games. It is also a great means for your dog to socialise with other dogs and learn different play styles to improve integration with other dogs.
At Rags & Bert’s, as part of our doggy daycare service, we provide a number of playful enrichment games that our guests cannot get enough of! Our enrichment games are more than allowing a dog to run around – although giving them space is key. The day is planned to keep dogs mentally and physically stimulated in line with detailed research.
Every dog quite literally has its day! Each dog’s day is setup for them, not every dog will be suited for the assault course for example! We offer a range of activities that caters for dogs of all ages and sizes to make every day in our doggy day care simply pawfect. Our guests are free to roam around, off lead in a safe and secure environment.
For example dogs are guided to different rooms and areas of the day care centre as part of the days adventure to ensure environment changes to stimulate their senses. This movement keeps the day interesting for them allowing dogs to socialise with each other. The day is then full of exciting activities to prevent boredom and therefore prevent undesirable behaviour keeping a harmonious atmosphere.
A trail will be set with a choice of scents including aromatherapy oils, non toxic mint leaves and a vast array of other scents. All the day care dogs are guided outside when the trail is left ready for the dogs to then have to find the mystery item from the scent trail. The different scent and new layout keeps everything exciting for our guests. It gives each dog a reason to use their nose promoting behaviour that comes naturally.
The quest to get to the toys! Always popular amongst our guests with a great benefit. If your dog is destroying items in the house, chewing away at the remote or eating the sofa, having an outlet of items they are allowed to destroy enables them to channel their want to destroy something and they become aware that they are allowed to destroy that item and not other items. This is great when combined with our dog training if this is a common problem for you.
The boxes are filled with toys but are very difficult to get into as they are packed with newspapers, towels and other items to give our dogs a real challenge to get to their treasure. This is a great way of reducing stress in dogs staying away from home.
Changing the music & lighting
In day care we always keep the music calm and relaxing. Research shows that classical music influences calm body posture signals.
Relax time and changing the lighting
Lights on dim as part of downtime for a few hours each day. This is needed as part of our guests days to ensure the balance between switching off and relaxing against being over stimulated. A controlled relaxing time will teach our dogs to relax. We provide quiet time silence, the lights go off and staff lie down with the dogs.
Agility & Obstacle courses
For able dogs, activities are setup of going through tunnels, jumping over hurdles and running through obstacle courses that are setup with fencing and fun challenges. The agility courses are setup in a controlled manner to prevent injury and ensure our guests will not be scared by the course. Alternatively for other dogs there are other playful events always going on! Only dogs that pass the agility initial assessment can come in for this play area.
Playing with water in hot weather
Paddling pools and sprinklers are the top draw in hot weather. Many of our dogs love to play in the water and we enjoy getting stuck in playing with the sprinklers too!
Exploring the big outdoor compound to get some air and play with the toys and courses outside.
Enrichment is best used as part of a dogs normal routine, owners should still keep walking with dog to keep their bond with their dog and provide another form of physical exercise. A top tip is to visit different parks to keep it exciting for your four legged friend.