Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Enrichment: Home and Routine

Last week I came across The Shape of Enrichment, an organization focused on enrichment, primarily for zoological settings. One of the pages had this nifty flow chart about types of enrichment.

Introduction: Toys
Social Enrichment
Cognitive Enrichment

You can change the types or locations of bedding. Toss an extra blanket on top of the dog bed. Move the locations of the crate, or set up an extra crate.
When Griffin was using the soft crate on a daily basis, when the dogs were loose, Blaze would love to hang out in there. The covered-darkness and location were much preferred to the location of his wire crate. My dogs can't have bedding in crates (...chew chew chew), but they do get bedding when loose or for a short period of time in their crates.

For those of you with a bit of yard space, provide some changes out there. Have an area for digging. Have a pool for water play or to find dropped treats or toys. Let some of the grass grow up taller. If you have multiple dogs, a few shrubs or furniture in the middle of the yard can be very enjoyed by the dogs. My dogs love to have items to race around and jump out from behind. Place new things (or even just cardboard boxes) out in the yard when your dog is not looking.

Daily Routine

Some predictability is good, but, as I keep saying, variety is important too. Try to vary part of your schedule. Instead of using food toys in the house, take your dog out to the yard. Do training while on a walk, or play a bit of tug in those locations.

How can you vary your daily routine or parts of your dog's home?

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