Your doggos wellbeing requires more than just an occasional walk around the block and plenty of food in their dish. Puppers need enrichment opportunities to unlock their true potential. Adding socialization, playtime, and bonding activities to their regular routines can help pawrents optimize their pups’ overall health and wellbeing.
The Power of Play: How Enrichment Helps Doggos Live Longer, Happier Lives
For most hoomans, enrichment is just the frosting of life. While there’s no fun in that, we can still survive without it. However, even humans crave a nice dining out experience and a staycation or vacation and turn to arts to experience new smells, sights, tastes, and points of view. Enrichment helps humans gain new perspectives while living their best lives, and the same goes for our furry companions.
Pet enrichment helps them learn pawsitive behaviors while improving the emotional and physical health of our puppers and enabling them to bond with their pawrents. Studies show that appropriate behavior enrichment coupled with an antioxidant and nutrient-rich diet and substantial exercise helps lower the risk of various diseases while streamlining cognitive function, especially in senior doggos. In fact, quality playtime together can potentially help increase the lifespan of our fur babies.
When dog parents groom and interact with their pup regularly, they can discover issues more quickly; early detection means early treatment, which can save their lives. While physical play and exercise might be among the first things pawrents think when considering their canine companion’s wellbeing, it’s only one type of stimulation that doggos need. Research has revealed that besides physical movement, our pups’ minds also need daily exercise and activities that stimulate different senses.
The AKC-certified dog guru at theDogHood suggests adding personalized enrichment activities to your doggos routine to help them feel happier and less stressed while mitigating problematic behaviors and maintaining your shoe collection and your sanity!
Types of Enrichment Activities For Doggos
#1 Physical Enrichment
This involves anything and everything that gets your pupper moving, from off-leash romps to chasing balls, sticks, and Frisbee, or simply going on morning and evening jogs with the pawrent. All such activities are an excellent way to address the mental and physical needs of the doggo.
#2 Sensory Enrichment
This involves engaging your doggo’s senses—taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. Try to include scent games in their routine to activate their high-powered noses. It’s a really fun and inexpensive way to keep the puppers busy at home. If you’re looking for ideas to add sensory activities to exercise your pup’s mind and body while optimizing their natural skills, try hiding leaves, treats, or their favorite toys under various cardboards for them to sniff out and find around the home. Another way to enhance their natural instincts is to get enrichment toys that provide the pups an opportunity to sniff, forage, and explore before getting the food.
#3 Social Enrichment
When you take your doggo for walks or cuddle with them and show some love during one-on-one petting sessions, you’re already giving the fur baby some much-needed attention and face time with their favorite hooman. However, it’s beneficial for them to socialize with other pups in the neighborhood.
Socializing your dog can help build their confidence while making them feel less lonely and anxious. Download the theDogHood App to find local DogHood hubs or schedule fun playdates with well-trained, trusted, and safe puppers in the neighborhood and beyond. You can also use the App create your pup’s social profile or to celebrate important milestones such as your pupper’s birthday by creating an exclusive event and inviting doggos in the neighborhood with their pawrents to the dog park or any place where you all meet to have fun, enjoy treats, and make new friends.
#4 Nutritional Enrichment
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for every doggo, but planning some nutritional activities into their normal feeding routines can make mealtime more exciting. Mix up feedings with varied food items such as chewables, supplements, treats, xylitol-free peanut butter, and other tasty snacks. You can also introduce your doggo to a puzzle feeder to encourage them to work on their instinctive behaviors, as it imitates ways they would hunt for their meals in the wild.
#5 Occupational Enrichment
This basically means giving your pupper the chance to learn advanced skills that go beyond the basic commands such as ‘sit.’ These include teaching them skills that help build their confidence while giving them a chance to take control of their own care. It helps alleviate fear, anxiety, dependency, and stress. For instance, it may mean helping the doggo learn to offer their paws at the sight of nail clippers rather than the groomer or pawrent having to forcefully grab their paws. Occupation enrichment is also beneficial for therapy dog training, agility, fly-ball relay racing, scent work, and similar activities that enrich their routine.
Whether you’re still working from home or have a tough office routine, it can sometimes get ruff to take out time to enrich your doggos mental and physical health. If you’re finding it difficult to schedule playtime, head on to theDogHood to learn how much playtime your doggo needs and tips and tricks to make it easier for you to optimize their wellness.
Since every pupper is different in terms of their breed, size, personality, and health status, the puppy gurus at theDogHood recommend focusing on the quality of the play while ensuring both mental and physical components become part of your pupper’s routine. To ensure the enrichment activities help your doggos personality shine through while improving their quality of life, ensure that the playtime is scheduled during dispersed intervals throughout the day or times, the puppers feel most active.
Looking for more tips and tricks on how to improve the quality of life for your doggo? Download theDogHood App on your smartphone or join theDogHood community to access comprehensive puppy training guides, recommendations for local products or seek advice from professional dog trainers and dog behavioral specialists across the globe.
The moment you download the app, it’ll plug you into a warm, caring, and welcoming community of dog lovers. You can find local DogHood hubs in your neighborhood and beyond, ask questions, create or discover dog-friendly events, and share cute videos and pictures of your doggo in the PAWFEED.
You can also share your dog’s stories with fellow dog lovers at the Hoomans of the DogHood or read heartwarming stories of dogs if you need some serious inspawration!
Join the community now by scanning the QR code below to download the theDogHood App and get started on giving your doggos some of the healthiest, happiest years with pawsitive enrichment that bring you both closer while optimizing their health, from nose to tail: