Enrichment. Making life great for your dog.
“Enrichment” is a current and popular buzz word in the dog training and behavior consulting worlds. What is it?
If you were raising a child, you would want to expose that child to all kinds of new and interesting experiences over the course of their development. How to try, how to fail, how to recover, how to experience the world in a way that nourishes a love of learning and discovery. Dogs need the same things, but in a doggy kind of way.
Right in your own home or back yard you can find lots of challenging things to do with your dog, like climb in a box, jump up on a bench or stone wall, back-up onto a step, run around a post, jump into the car through one door and out the other door and repeat (I call it the car tunnel), belly crawl under a fence, balance on some big squishy cushions, splash in a puddle, swim in a pond and it goes on and on.
But the single greatest joy for most dogs is to run beside you on a walk in the woods. Why? They get to hunt! They get to use their nose to sniff out a chipmunk and bark it up a tree or chase a squirrel or even a rabbit! This is happiness to a dog and such good exercise for you both. If you can’t let your dog off leash, you can use a long line to give them more freedom.
Take a tricks training class or an introduction class to a dog sport, or just take any class that uses positive reinforcement methods. Your dog will love the stimulation. It can be so rewarding for both of you.
So, get out there with your dog, sniff, jump, crawl, and chase.
Positive reinforcement training paired with lots of enrichment changes dogs. I have seen it work magic hundreds of times.