"Properly trained, man can be a dog's best friend" ~ Corey Ford
With the colder weather approaching, I think it is the perfect time to remind everyone about the joys and necessity of mental stimulation - especially for our canine companions. When it is cold outside, we tend to spend less time on outdoor activities (which I absolutely get. In my dictionary it is stated: "Cold weather equals blanket, a hot cup of tea, cookies and/or popcorn and Netflix). However, this also means less outdoor time for our canine companions and that can turn into some very long and very boring days for them. And when bored, dogs tend to get very creative in their need for entertainment. All of a sudden the newly upholstered chair in the corner might just look like the best chew toy ever created. The trash can turns into an extremely fun forage activity and your daughter's favorite teddy-bear is now seen as a prey that needs to be totally destroyed....all fun, rewarding and enriching activities for our dogs, but all very unwanted behaviors for any owner.
So what would be better than having to clean up the mess and having to hunt down the exact same teddy-bear, that Target had on sale 8 years ago?
Yep, exactly: Prevention in the shape and form of mental stimulation!
A tired dog is a lot less ambitious when it comes down to planning the next big adventure (read: catastrophe) in your home. And nothing tires a dog out more, than making him use his brain and his nose.
Of course I am all about managing our dogs, so they don't even have the option to get into the trash can or into my daughter's room. This means we need to close the door to our daughter's room, use baby gates and x-pen to manage access to the upholstered chair and hide the trash can. But management will always, at some point, fail. Plus it doesn't really help with the mental stimulation or boredom factor. So I say, "let's bake the cake and eat it too" by combining the management with the Canine Enrichment.
And not only does daily enrichment activities benefit your dog and your home, but it is also quite simple and fun!
So where do we start?
Well, first step 1: Take your dog's food bowl away!
Yes, really that simple. Put it up in a cupboard or give it to your aunt. Or just toss it. Because the goal is for your and your dog to not see this bowl again.
Now it is time to come up with new ways for your dog to get his food (see ideas below image).
Most dogs love to work for their food, so here are some ideas for you to try:
Start first with the above mentioned ideas. If interested in learning more and getting new ideas for your daily canine enrichment program, you will be glad to know, that in just a few more weeks, I will be able to offer a full online course with videos, homework, ideas, recipes, Live chats, Live Q & A and much more. But until then.....have fun with the above mentioned ideas. I know your dog will!
As a dog trainer and animal lover, my wish is to help educate the owners, so they can have a harmonious relationship with the animal(s) in their lives. A relationship based on knowledge, trust and respect.