Conservation Dogs Collective
Canine Enrichment from the Experts
We have all seen that look—the look our dog gives us when they are craving activity. Whether that be a good romp in the park or a quick sniff in the backyard, we want to be able to give our pups the opportunity to just be dogs. This is where canine enrichment comes into play (literally). All dogs have a natural tendency to play, sniff, scavenge, chew, and chase, so why not let them get an opportunity to safely and creatively do so?
While the work our canine finders do is incredibly beneficial to our earth, it also doubles as a great tool for them to do activities they were born to do. That being said, there are enrichment practices our finders utilize to help them relax at home and stay focused in the field.
Our Canine Enrichment Recommendations
Finder Ernie’s Enrichment Recommendation: The Snuffle Mat
The snuffle mat is a super fun and easy way to provide your dog with an opportunity to exercise their natural sniffing and scavenging skills. All you need is a rubber mat with long strips of fabric and voila!, you have a snuffle mat ready to go for your dog. All you have to do is sprinkle some food on the snuffle mat and your canine friend will show you how it is done. The long strips of fabric mimic grass and encourage your dog to forage the same way they would in the wild.
Finder Betty White’s Enrichment Recommendation: DIY Obstacle Course
Our very own pocket rocket Betty White LOVES to zoom and bounce, which is why she recommends DIY obstacle courses. These are great for all seasons, as you can make them indoor or outdoor (or both). Make sure you have your high value treats ready and be creative with your dog! You can turn any household item or toy into an adventure by having your dog learn to jump over a mop or teaching them to weave between your legs. Teaching your dogs to use items in specific ways gets them thinking hard and will leave them tired and satisfied.
Finder Harriet’s Enrichment Recommendation: Flirt Poles
Much like her namesake, Harriet is all about the magic! Flirt poles are the magic wand you’ve been wishing for. Basically, it is a pole with a cord and lure at the end, much like a fishing pole toy you’d use with a cat. These are great tools for high energy dogs that just can’t stop playing while doubling as good impulse control practice. There are a few basic rules to using them with your dog, leading to a tired pup after a session!
Finder Jesse’s Enrichment Recommendation: Spin the Bottle
It isn’t surprising that our very own lover boy Jesse loves to spin the bottle, but instead of getting kisses, he gets his favorite meaty treats! Easy to DIY, all you need is a tension rod and a few bottles with holes cut in them for treats to fall out of. Spinning the bottle is a great way to get your dog to work for their food. When Jesse figures out how to spin the bottle, then a treat falls on the floor for him to enjoy. This helps him get his mind working on how to problem solve and get rewarded for it.
Finder Willow’s Enrichment Recommendation: Muffin Tin Puzzle
Willow loves balls, balls, and more balls, which is why she recommends partnering them with treats! The muffin tin puzzle is a super simple way to help your dog get some mental stimulation while enjoying their meal. This is also a great way to get your dog to slow down during meal time. All you need to do is sprinkle some food in the muffin tin, cover each tin with balls or toys and let your canine friend do the rest.
Finder Alva’s Enrichment Recommendation: Frozen Dog Treats
The she-devil knows all the secrets to get her favorite food and some enrichment! Being one of the easiest enrichment ideas, frozen dog treats provide an opportunity for your dog to fill up their tummy and work for it. This can be as simple as freezing some hamburger in a Kong or making some pup-sicles. Frozen treats are handy for when you might have a busy week but want to meet the needs of your dog.
Finder Bronty’s Enrichment Recommendation: Doggy Tether Ball
We all know that Bronty is a go-getter which is why he LOVES tether ball! This game involves no treats, just tricks! If you have a super active dog like Bronty, tether ball could be the right game for you and your dog. It allows for your dog to catch a ball but also learn to boop it back with their nose or paws.