Enrichment for dogs is fun! It's the process of providing mental and physical stimulation for your four legged friend. Keeping them stimulated 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 way 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 daycare simply pawfect. Our guests are free to roam around, off lead in a safe and secure environment.
Dogs are guided to different rooms and areas of the daycare centre as part of the day's adventure to ensure environment changes to stimulate their senses and keep the day interesting for them.
Here are some of the activities we run in daycare to prevent boredom and undesirable behaviour. Our doggy daycare schedule makes for a very relaxed and harmonious environment.
- Scent games
A trail will be set with a range of scents including aromatherapy oils, non-toxic mint leaves and other scents. The daycare dogs are guided outside when the trail is ready for the dogs to explore and find the mystery item. The different scents and layouts keeps everything exciting for our guests. It gives the dogs a reason to use their noses promoting behaviour that comes naturally.
- Destruction boxes
The quest to get to the toys! Always popular with our daycare dogs with a great benefit. If your dog is destroying items in the house, chewing away at the remote or eating the sofa, having specific items they are allowed to destroy enables them to channel this behaviour and they learn what they can and cannot destroy. We fill cardboard boxes with toys but make them 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 also a great way of reducing any doggy stress.
- Using music to calm
In doggy daycare we always keep the music calm and relaxing. Research shows that classical music influences calm body posture signals.
- Relax time and changing the lighting
We put the lights on dim as part of downtime for a few hours each day. This is essential in daycare to ensure a balance between switching off and relaxing and being stimulated. Our controlled downtime teaches the dogs to relax. We provide quiet time silence, the lights go down and staff lie down with the dogs.
- Agility and obstacle courses
For able dogs, activities are set up such as going through tunnels, jumping over hurdles and running through obstacle courses that have fencing and fun challenges. The agility courses are used in a controlled manner to prevent injury and ensure the dogs will not be scared by the course. For other dogs, there are always other playful events going on! Only dogs that pass the initial agility assessment are allowed to participate.
- Playing with water in hot weather
Paddling pools and sprinklers are the top drawcard in hot weather. Many of our dogs love to play in the water and we enjoy getting stuck in playing with the sprinklers too!
- Outdoor playground
Exploring the outdoor area to get some air and play with the toys and equipment outside is always an important part of the day.
Enrichment is best used as part of a dogs normal routine. Owners should still keep walking with their dog to bond with them and provide another form of physical exercise. We suggest visiting different parks to keep it exciting for your four legged friend.