Ideas for enriching games

  What does “enrich” means? The dictionary will tell us that it means to add value to or to improve the quality of something.  When talking about our loved pets, we can enrich their lives in so many ways!

  Dogs have instincts that we try to diminish so that we can adapt the dog to our world. However, if we do not meet the needs of our pets, this may lead to unwanted behavior, self-harm, depression, health issues, and so on. Here come the enriching games! These are created so that we can allow our pets to, well, just be animals – without sacrificing their safety. Think about it that way – we can’t allow our dogs to run everywhere their noses take them, right? So, what do we do then? We allow them to use their noses in other ways! Let’s see below:

  Enrichment games usually fulfill the needs of smelling, searching, playing, chasing, and chewing.

  Some easy enrichment games we practice with Natsuki are:

  1. Structured game of fetch with a ball or frisbee – he has to chase the ball, grab it, and bring it back;
  2. We use a sniffle mat with treats – allows him to sniff and search; Natsuki’s tip: if you do not have such a mat, you can use an old T-shirt – spread some treats on top of it, roll it up, and allow your dog to search! dog sniffing a t-shirt with treats as an enriching game
  3. Use a toy that you can stuff with treats – if you do not have such, you can easily improvise with a toilet paper roll – put some treats inside, close a bit the two open sides and that’s it!
  4. Hide some treats around the room and allow your dog to search for them;
  5. Often, we give him some delicious dehydrated treats for him to chew on! Rabbit ears, lamb tribe, fish skin – Natsuki really enjoys them! Some of these types of treats are also good for teeth cleaning! Be careful not to give very hard ones!
  6. Dog puzzles – again, great for a quick game.

  Enriching entertainment will lead to a happier, emotionally stable, mentally, and physically satisfied. These types of games can reduce anxiety, and lead to better sleep and better socialization! It helps develop their thinking and understanding of things and reduces boredom and unwanted behaviors.

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