There’s nothing I love more than treating Storm to some canine enrichment games. Particularly over lockdown, these games have proved a great way to help Storm with mental stimulation and exercise.
What is canine enrichment?
Basically it is mental stimulation is often referred to as “enrichment.” Just like its root word dictionary definition, “to improve or enhance the quality of,” canine ‘enrichment‘ improves your dog’s mental capacity and enhances his/her understanding of his/her relationship with you and the world around him/her.
Canine enrichment can be seen as treat games, but there are some forms of enrichment that Storm loves that have nothing to do with treats.
Ball in a Tree
The first is her ball tied to a tree… now realistically you need to have a dog who’s somewhat interested in balls, if not then just move to the next one. Storm is ball mad if your dog is too then you must keep reading.
What you need…
- We bought a GIWI Jumball which we bought ours from B&M for £7.99 but you can easily purchase these online as going to the shops is a no go in these unprecedented times.
- We had some rope lying about the house which we used.
- For this to work you really need a tree in your garden or something which you can tie the ball to.
We looped the rope around the tree a few times and then tied it to the ball very simple and has given her hours of fun… she still uses it to this day SHE LOVES IT!
Storm loves playing with the hose and some water. Dog can gain enrichment from this if you have a child’s paddling pool fill it up and put in some of your furry furiend’s favourite toy’s and watch the fun they have with it.
Her second favourite thing to do is DIG, now I know a lot of people do not like the thought of their garden being torn up… but dogs are really quick learners. Storm has her own area within the garden where digging is allowed and she caught on to this pretty fast.
For more fun and more enrichment, you can get bits of meat and bury them for your faithful hound to dig up and find.
Storm loves when we blow bubbles she chases them and bites them. If you look on amazon you can also purchase bacon flavoured bubbles.
Now onto the treats…
There are endless pages of puzzles on the internet from which you can choose for your dog. Storm has lots…. some work and some really don’t.
I bought the Trixie turn around activity game for her.
Personally we would recommend this for smaller dogs as it only comes in one size and its the one and only toy that Storm just hasn’t managed to get the hang of and gets bored with and stops trying.
Snuffle Mats/ Activity Mats
Again this isn’t to every dogs taste and depending on the day, it isn’t always Storm’s favourite. You do not have to buy it you can also make your own (Watch out for an upcoming blog where we will show you how to make your own!)
If you have a hollee ball there is many way in which you can turn this into an enrichment activity:
- we usually take something small chewable that wouldn’t last Storm very long (Puffed up chicken feet or normal chicken feet) but it can be any sort of chew and we place it inside the ball and she has to work out how to get it before she gets to eat. She loves this
- you can do the same as above but tie bits of fleece to the outside of the ball making the task harder.
- if you have a few different face cloths you can roll treats up inside the face clothes and put the face clothes through one hole in and out through the other hole
- You can use this with no treats by simply placing in shredded bits of fabric for them to pull out the ball… this may be a good one if your furry friend likes to destuff animals.
Puzzles are one of storms favourite enrichment’s. She has been doing them since she was about 3 months.
She loves the challenge, but if the challenge proves too great has been known to throw in the towel .
Storm loves balls so I think her love of the treat ball stems from her love of balls.
I have seen these from as cheap as £1.99 depending on where you go.
There is plenty of different ones and some that make sounds some that don’t and it is very much down to preference as to the one you choose.
We like the rosewood treat ball because you can change the size of the treat hole to make it easier or harder and dependant upon the size of the treats within the ball too. We also have a giggle treat ball but it can become irritating after a while.
Last, but not least is the Kong. Storm has a puppy Kong which she sometimes likes but its never been a huge favourite of hers. She does get bored with it after a while, but most dogs love it which is why we have chosen to mention it here.
You can find many websites offering Kong recipes etc or you can just stuff it with your dogs favourite snacks.
Have you tried any of the above games?
We have plenty of blogs on enrichment, click here for more of our favourite DIY enrichment ideas.