Looking for ways to keep your pup distracted and mentally stimulated or ways to keep your high-energy pup continuously entertained? Enrichment is a great way to allow your pup to be emotionally, mentally, and physically satisfied.
One example of an enrichment activity is a Kong toy filled with treats and frozen peanut butter (if you freeze a Kong toy, it will last much longer!). Cream cheese can also be an option instead of peanut butter. If you opt for peanut butter, make sure that it does not contain the chemical xylitol, as it is toxic to canines.
Another great option is puzzle toys. You can easily make an at-home puzzle toy using a muffin pan, filling the muffin pan with kibble or treats, and placing tennis balls on top of the majority of the muffin indentations. This allows for your pup to become aware that the reward is there and visible, but also aware of the effort to achieve that reward.
A snuffle mat is one of our favorite enrichment activities. One will need fleece strips tied to a rubber mat or a high-pile bathroom mat. (Instructions to Create a Snuffle Mat: https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/news/how-make-snuffle-mat). Simply place and hide kibble throughout the mat, making sure your pup has to go extra lengths to get a reward/find kibble.
Daycare is also a great option for enrichment throughout the day for your pup. Dogs that experience high levels of mental and physical stimulation are less likely to participate in destructive behaviors that result from boredom. In daycare, all of this energy can be aimed towards beneficial and productive playtime. Daycare will also ensure that your dog is socializing and interacting with other dogs while you are at work, thereby improving your dog’s socialization skills while also satisfying their needs.
It is important to remember that this pandemic has shifted our (and our pets’) routine significantly and it’s time to begin to get our animals used to our new work routine. Designate some time to your animals to ensure they are comfortable during this transition period to ensure that this new work routine is mutually beneficial for both you and your dog.