dog in forest on a lead. Photo taken by Johann

Enrichment for Dogs

The history of the dog.

15000 years ago, grey wolves (a common ancestor to modern dogs) worked the same way modern wolves do. Keeping in groups, these packs would protect each other from other predators; while also being able to hunt successfully by overwhelming their prey.


During this time, we started domesticating these wolves by giving them a quick and easy meal in exchange for protection and companionship. This proved a very successful partnership - the wolves got easy meals, and humans could continue to grow into what we are today. This, however, led the wolves to become smaller in size and require more care and attention from their new pack leaders.


We started using our new dogs for everything, hunting, pest control, retrieving, security and anything else we could find a use for them. This continued to allow our dogs to evolve into the breeds we know today.

That's all well and good, but what's that got to do with enrichment?

Good question, you astute person!

Because our dogs have been bred to work, they become bored quickly.

Not having an outlet for their boredom can often lead to destructive behaviour and stress. Stress is one of the fundamental causes of illness in dogs. It's important not to let your little one get to this point.

OK, so what even is enrichment?

Enrichment has four qualities, sight, sound, smell, and taste. Each of these qualities enhances a dog's enrichment by activating different areas of its brain, which improves its cognitive function.

Enrichment is an all-encompassing part of keeping a four-legged friend. Our beloved dogs are intelligent and empathetic beings, and it's our job to keep them entertained. Even though we get a lot of joy and entertainment from watching dogs do the simplest things, we must endeavour to improve their quality of life using treats, toys, food and walking.

How can I improve my dog's quality of life?

Toys! LickiMats! Treats! Walking! You name it; it's effortless to improve your dog's quality of life! Even letting them sniff while out on a walk can significantly increase their enrichment. What else can I do? I hear you ask. Incorporating treats into toys will allow your dog to think and analyse how to retrieve a treat from its toy. This will also increase playtime tremendously for your dog, giving them hours of distraction and the mental stimulation, they desire.

Conclusion
Owning a dog is a rewarding venture, but it's not without its trials; however, by looking at ways to keep your dog entertained and improving its quality of life, you will have many years of happiness together. Creating a bond, the likes has never been seen.

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