You may have heard of the term “enrichment” for dogs. It has become a very important part of a dog behaviourist’s job to help dog parents find tools to treat dogs with separation anxiety, boredom and low frustration tolerance. I have asked some of my clients and some of my dog’s pals to list their favourite enrichment games and toys to keep them busy and free from boredom at the very least.
A dog with separation anxiety will need a programme in place to introduce these toys and games in an effective manner.
Enrichment suggestions from some very clever dogs:
Rex the miniature (not so mini) schnauzer:
Rex suffers from moderate separation anxiety and these are his favourite toys while he stays out of sight of his human parents.
-Starch chews from Wilkos (star fish and turtle shapes)
-Bob-a-lot treat dispenser
-Trixie memory trainer
Merlin the cavalier king charles and his suggestions:
Merlin (my dog) is learning to spend time on his own while mummy writes this blog and these are his favourite games and toys:
-hide the biscuit around the room game
-hide liver treats in my bee and squirrel toy dens
-kong filled with delicious food and frozen to really increase my licking time
–snuffle mat (google to find out more)
-muffin tin game (google to find out more)
-pigs ears (the 100% natural ones)
-Mozart music to calm (research shows how MOZART is used for children who experience seizures to help calm them)
-animal grade lavender oil which has been proven to lower heart rate and calm dogs who feel anxious (to find out more see my online course on Emotional remedies and how to apply them ) You can buy lavender oil from www.doterra.com
Kobi the pug
has some generalised anxiety and his preferred toys and games include something else very special. A dog massage!
To help to release the anxiety he is storing within his musculo-skeletal system. Google the latest research findings on the link between emotional distress and musculo-skeletal problems in dogs…
Here I am demonstrating dog massage on Kobi in his consultation. To learn dog massage for your babe, you can come to one of my workshops or learn with me face-to-face over Skype/Facetime or Whatsapp by taking my online dog massage course.
To follow Kobi and Lizzie pugs and their parents visit instagram @kobi_pug
Sonny the sprocker who destroys indestructable toys
Sonny’s favourite activity to keep him occupied and that he hasn’t chewed through is this blue toy from Home Bargains…
And a kong filled with delicious frozen food and because he chews through things, his mum is opting for the black indestructable Extreme Kong!
Sonny is one of Merlin’s best buddies…
To follow Sonny and his talented blogger mum find them on instagram @frecklesandfate
Other indestructable enrichment toys can be found by asking on the facebook group Canine Enrichment
Elmo the frenchie says his mum has made a great find!
The Trixie Strategie-Spiel, Turn Around Place treats inside and your dog will have loads of fun!
Buddy and Georgie much loved bichons:
love “find it” looking for treats in the garden or undoing a tea towel with a treat wrapped inside.
This one below uses baby building blocks inside a basket, which they have to remove to lick the treat smeared inside.
This one involves a bit of peanut butter/cheese and vegetables frozen in silicone ice cube trays.
And a homemade version of a treat in a bottle!
And treats hidden in a basket, layered within a cushion, a bed and with a knotted towel underneath so they have to remove every piece before they find all the treats!
Buddy and Georgie’s mum adds that if you have more than one dog “I’ve trained them to do it on their own mat so they see that almost as their “exclusion zone” so there’s less interference if one finishes first.” If you are visiting or live in Cardiff get yourself over to her Four Paws Deli for delicious and nutritious dog foods and treats.
Bugg the Frenchie is one of Merlin’s best buddies and when he doesn’t have a rope toy in his mouth he is licking up CBD oil in his bowl of food. Bugg’s mum is a very talented hair design and colourist where you can take your dog with you to appointments! And she sells natural products for pets and humans as well! CBD oil helps to rebalance a doggie and can help to reduce any pain conditions which might be underlying anxiety issues. You can find out more information at www.daiba.uk
Or follow Bugg and Daisy on Instagram @daisy86smith
Ollie the Old English Sheepdog (aka Instagram: @oliver_fluffymonster) has some noise fears and anxiety around large trucks and puppies. He loves the Nina Ottoman’s range of puzzle toys for highly intelligent dogs. Even his girlfriend loves to play on their dates 😊
Oreo the Bichon
He loves his cuddly toys but a chew root he will spend hours chewing on it says mum Dee.
Chew roots are 100% natural tree roots and great for dogs teeth
Jack the Jack Russell
belongs to Amanda Fenwick who has built her dog store around him and his love for toys such as the sniff and snack ball and mat. You can find all sorts of handmade enrichment toys and even ask for tailor made items from Jack’s Wardrobe.
Skye the cavalier king charles spaniel is Merlin’s first best friend he ever made. They love each other. Skye says that he loves his cuddly bunny toy when he stays at his grandmas as it smells of his mum and George.
I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to help your dog with boredom and increase their tolerance of being in their own space. Finding activities to fulfil them without always needing your interaction and presence.
Love Nicky and M x
Read my blog post on Separation Anxiety to find out more about how the above enrichment toys and games can help.