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Canine Environmental Enrichment

If your household is anything like mine, it is kind of a zoo most of the time. There are people and pets in and out, little kids making messes, and always lots to do. Sometimes my sweet dogs get a little lost in all the hubbub. What kinds of things can I do for them to make their environment more stimulating and less boring?

The first line is exercise. Just like people, dogs also need exercise to stay healthy. Runs are especially good for dogs that have a lot of energy to burn, and running is good for their people too! Walks and meanders are good too, because they allow the dogs a little time to investigate their environment.

Playing with other dogs (doggie play date, anyone?) provides exercise and socialization. Or are you hopping in the car to run a quick errand? Maybe your dog would like a chance to go with you and see some new sights too.

Food toys can be stimulating and mentally challenging as well. A few examples I have come across are Kong toys (, Treat IQ Ball (, and the Buster Cube ( (No company has paid me to endorse their materials.) I know from experience that my dogs loooove the opportunity to play a food toy. I also have used them in the past to distract them from things they may not like (like me leaving the house.)

Hope this provides a few ideas of how to make our dogs' environments (and lives) a little more interesting.

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