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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Bell

The Importance of Canine Enrichment

Dogs love to run and play and we have a large secure field which we use for dog walks and doggie day care where they can run around safely.

Mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation, particularly for active or highly intelligent dogs and helps to ensure a happy and content dog by challenging their brains and encouraging problem solving.

Mental games are also great for puppies who are not able to go for long walks while they're still growing. We provide lots of toys and activities in the field to help with this.

Dogs love exploring different textures and heights. As well as plenty of grass (long and short) we have a large hard standing area, indoor area with rubber matting and raised pallets that they love to jump on and off and lie on.

We have tunnels and tyres for the dogs to run through, barrels and cable drums for jumping on and running around, agility jumps and hoops, a bench to rest on

and a slide for the more adventurous dog! The wendy house is popular for hide and seek and sheltering from the rain and sun. We also have a paddling pool for dogs to cool off in or some just like to paddle as they drink!

All of these activities encourage dogs to use their natural abilities to explore, sniff and play.

Sensory Garden

We are currently growing a sensory garden to further enrich the dogs experience and promote calm behaviour. Wheat grass is packed full of nutrients and has been shown to aid digestion and energy levels. Meadowsweet can help with digestion, arthritis and rheumatic conditions. Peppermint can help skin irritations and Valerian has a calming effect that can help anxious dogs.

As well as improving physical health the benefits of canine enrichment is preventing boredom and negative behaviours such as aggression, excessive barking, separation anxiety or destructive behaviours. We are growing these plants from seeds so keep an eye on our Facebook page @allcreaturesuk for updates.

Ways to challenge and stimulate your dogs at home

Snuffle mats, a rubber mat with fleece strips tied to it, are great for hiding treats in and keeping dogs occupied. Other interactive toys and slow feeders such as stuffed kongs which can be frozen and lick mats encourage the dogs natural sniffing and scavenging behaviours. You don't have to buy expensive toys, plastic bottles (with cap removed) and cardboard boxes make great toys for hiding treats in. You can also use a rolled up towel to hide treats and challenge the dog to find them.

For a healthier treat try chopped up carrots. You should ensure the toys sufficiently challenge your dog without causing frustration by making it to hard to get the reward. Rotate toys so he doesn't get bored of them. Hide treats around the home or garden and encourage your dog to find them or scatter feed on the lawn to encourage their hunting and foraging behaviour.

Allow your dog time to sniff on his walk to explore his environment.

Try setting up a digging area / box where your dog is allowed to dig and bury toys.

Training is a great way to challenge and mentally stimulate your dog. From basic skills like sit and wait to more challenging skills like teaching your dog names of different toys and asking them to retrieve them. Let us know how you get on!

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