Keeping your dog physically active and making sure that they get enough exercise, playtime and social interaction is an important part of doggy wellness. However, what many don’t know is that mental stimulation and problem solving is just as crucial. For many of our canine companions, their brains are constantly active and looking for a job, task, or role to fulfill that is not always there for them to achieve. This can cause stress, behavioral problems, and built up frustration in our dogs simply because they don’t have an outlet for their instinctual drives. Luckily, relief can come to our furry friends simply by adding some form of enrichment to their lives. Here at Roscoe’s, we work hard to provide that enrichment by not only housing an environment where your dogs can play and interact, but where they can work their big brains and learn a little something too!
So what exactly is canine enrichment?
We’re so glad you asked! We define enrichment as additions to a dog’s life which provide the dog with an outlet for its energy and drive while also improving its psychological health and wellbeing. In reality there are many forms of canine enrichment which range from simple puzzle toys to complex training and agility, but the key is to work the dog’s mind while also having fun! Enrichment should make your dog want to think in order to solve problems or accomplish tasks and, in the process, reduce boredom or built-up energy. Enrichment has been proven to lower stress levels in dogs as well as help with behavioral problems like destructive tendencies. Here at Roscoe’s, we think it helps in shaping a well-rounded dog who is healthy and happy!
What kind of enrichment is practiced at Roscoe’s?
Enrichment activities are part of our everyday routine! As discussed above, physical activity and play is important for your dog’s health but we also want to provide your pup with mental stimulation as well. Our trained playgroup supervisors guide your dog through a series of activities which cover multiple categories of enrichment including:
- Sensory- Anything that stimulates your dog’s five senses. We might practice the ‘touch’ command with your dog that teaches him to target a hand and gently touch it with his nose for a reward.
- Environmental- Adding new and exciting things to your dog’s environment which he then has to maneuver or learn about. We might guide your dog up and over a ramp or through a tunnel for the promise of a treat.
- Social- Interaction with other dogs and people. We might practice the ‘follow’ command where we teach your dog to follow alongside a leader or in a group as they take turns and practice patience.
- Play- Anything that can be included in your dog’s playtime. We might throw a ball for your dog and then practice their ‘recall’ command by having them return it upon hearing their name.
Is there special equipment made for enrichment activities?
Almost anything can be used for enrichment activities if you have the imagination to think it! However, at Roscoe’s our favorite piece of equipment would be the KLIMB™ platforms which are designed specifically to better train and work with dogs on a series of different activities. We love that they’re easily configured to make ramps, inclines, tunnels, and elevated seats for pups of all sizes, and your dog loves that they’re super fun to climb and maneuver around! All forms of enrichment activities that we practice every day can be accomplished on the KLIMB™ platforms and we find that most dogs enjoy the challenge of climbing to a higher elevation or crawling through a series of ramps. Plus, they make for a great, group photo shoot!
Can enrichment activities be done at home?
Yes! The best thing about canine enrichment is that any and all forms of it can be done right at home. Your dog makes great advances at Roscoe’s by being introduced to enrichment activities and practicing them throughout the day. However, just because they leave daycare doesn’t mean the enrichment has to end! If you have any questions about your dog’s progress or wish to learn how to continue the enrichment at home, feel free to ask a staff member and learn how easy it is to work your dog’s brain. We promise it’s fun for the both of you!
Our playgroup supervisor works with Nevan on his ‘follow’ and ‘touch’ commands.