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Tips for a Happy and Healthy Dog

Updated: Mar 7

If you’re like me, your furry companions mean everything to you and you want to be able to meet their needs as well as foster a healthy relationship. That’s why regular enrichment is key to making sure your dog is happy and healthy!

Enrichment is anything that improves or enhances the quality of your dog’s life and gives them the opportunity to take part in natural behaviors that mentally stimulate them. Things such as chewing, playing, chasing, smelling and scavenging are all innate behaviors that our dogs need and want to feel satisfied. A dog who receives these kinds of opportunities are less likely to get bored and partake in unwanted behaviors. That’s why I wanted to share three easy ways to add enrichment into your dogs routine:

  1. Make your dog’s meal times into an enrichment opportunity. If your dog eats on a schedule and enjoys their mealtimes, take half of their regular meal or their full meal and put it inside a puzzle toy, food dispenser toy or sniffle mat. All of these options will give your dog the opportunity to work for their food, which will mentally stimulate them and cause them to cognitively problem solve.

  2. Take your dog for an exploratory walk. Sometimes our walks with our dogs are focused on getting from point A to point B or used to try and get their daily exercise in. Although these walks can be beneficial, sometimes they are rushed and don’t allow the dog to really explore and be adventurous. Grab a 20-30 foot lead and check out a new park, trail, field or hike. Allow your dog to really smell and take in the environment around them with little guidance from you. As silly as it may sound, let your dog take you for a walk and allow them to guide the way. A long lead is needed for this, as it allows the dog enough space to smell without creating tension on the leash or pulling you around.  This type of walk really allows your dog to tap into their natural sniffing instincts.

  3. Play hide and seek. My dog Lullah really enjoys playing this game with me. If the goal is for her to find me, what I’ll do is toss a treat away from myself that she has to go retrieve and then I’ll run and hide as quickly as I can. Once I’m hidden, I'll call her name and wait for her to find me. If she finds me, she is rewarded with a treat! This makes the game so much more fun because it motivates her to keep finding me and to win the game. You can also play this game with just food, by hiding treats in different places and then having your dog search for them. This is a really great way to engage your dogs' sniffing, seeking, and playing instincts.

I hope these tips help you implement more enrichment into your dogs routine and promotes a happier companion!

Here are some of my favorite enrichment products:

(Click on product for link to to purchase)

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