For at least 200 years dogs have been carefully bred for specific purposes. This has generated some incredible design feats including dogs with a sense of smell so exquisite that they can detect a single scent molecule, dogs that demonstrate incredible speed and agility and dogs that can be the most dedicated companion. Dogs are now recognised as fully fledged family members and many of the roles fulfilled in the past are now carried out by humans or automated machines. Sensitive alarms have replaced the hyper-vigilant guard dog, rat traps have replaced the heroic Jack Russell terrier and Dalmatians’ lack a horse carriage to trot next to.
Times have changed….many of our dogs have become unemployed and with unemployment comes an increase in training problems and behavioural disease.
Environmental enrichment strengthens your dog’s brain fitness through meaningful ‘employment’. Enrichment is aimed at providing positive, independent and self-rewarded activities that meet the individual needs of your dog thereby reducing the amount of time your dog has available to perform undesirable activities. Enrichment can take many forms; Kalmpets shares some ideas below:
Say ‘no’ to the food bowl!
There are very few activities dogs can perform independent of their humans. Feeding is one of these. If your dog inhales their daily ration in a nanosecond then their one daily job is over in a matter of moments. Feeding enrichment stretches this job over the course of the day presenting food in a way that allows for independent and self-rewarded activity.
Dogs naturally enjoy foraging for their food. Providing opportunities where they can search for their food stimulates their senses and gives them a productive job to do.
For Kalmpets top feeding brain exercises visit the Resources section of the Kalmpets website (www.kalmpets.com) and download the ‘How to give your dog a balanced day with brain exercises’ pdf.