Enrichment Games for Dogs

@springer_beau_foxred_tilly

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Guest Blog by Explorer, Evie @springer_beau_foxred_tilly

Our furry pals get excited and happy over just about everything, seeing you when you’ve only stepped outside for five minutes, their food, your food and the squirrel at the park to name but a few. They’re filled with happiness and play a big part of keeping us healthy. In return for that, we need to make sure that they are healthy, both physically and mentally!

Our Explorer Evie from @springer_beau_foxred_tilly has pulled together some of her favourite enrichment games both store bought and homemade to keep them entertained and get their minds moving. 

Just like us humans, dogs need exercise and enrichment to stay healthy both mentally and physically. They need enrichment to prevent boredom, build a closer bond between you and stimulate the senses. A good way to ensure your dogs mental health is good is enrichment games for your dogs! Enrichment games come in all shapes and sizes and can range from very cheap to make to more expensive.

Here I will go through several different enrichment options for your pooches, things that we have ourselves tried and tested!

Snuffle Mat!

Snuffle mats are a great for those dogs that are food/treat focussed. Placing some food or treats in the mat means that the dog has to search for the food and it makes feed time a fun game for your doggy! They are having to use their nose and brain to work out how to get the food which helps to focus the brain and keep them healthy! ( plus it also helps to tire them out!)

Enrichment Games for Dogs - Dog Furiendly Guest Blog

Store Bought Brain Games

You can purchase these from the majority of pet stores or online! Again these are mainly for food or treat focussed dogs. The ones I use have small compartments where you hide the food and then the dog has to sniff the food out before they can eat it. Similarly to the snuffle mat, it means they have to use their brain to search for the food, and their nose!

Licki-mats

These are proving to be hugely popular, and I can see why! You can spread your dogs favourite treat on to the mat (such as wet food, gravy or peanut butter) and then allow the dog to lick it off. It takes them a whole lot longer and it is something different for them to enjoy!

Kongs

A classic enrichment toy and they certainly keep your pooch busy. Fill the kong with treats or peanut butter and then allow the dog to get it all out. It provides great mental stimulation for your dog and can also be used as a toy to play or chew on.

Homemade Enrichment Games

A more simple but just as effective enrichment game which can be done with toys or treats, and can be done simply at home with no cost involved!

Hide and Treat

Use three bowls, ( I usually use the dogs food and water bowls) and place a toy or treat underneath a bowl, and move them around. Once satisfied allow the dog to find the toy or treat, but hiding it from them means that it is more of a challenge for them, and they have to use their brain and nose to find it. This game really helps to focus the dog and provides a lot of enrichment!

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can keep the dog in a different room whilst you are hiding the item and then let them in to find it. This is pretty hard for the dog, but it provides a huge amount of enrichment, and they feel a great amount of satisfaction for you and your dog.

Enrichment Games for Dogs - Dog Furiendly Guest Blog
Spin the Bottle

Another great game is a bottle enrichment game. This can be homemade and made with very little cost. All you need is three or more plastic bottles, take the tops off and pop a few treats in each. Cut two holes in the bottle, opposite each other and about two thirds up. Attach the bottles to a wooden frame or thread through some string. If using string, tie each side to something secure e.g. a draw, radiator. Sometimes dogs can need a bit of encouragement but eventually they will see that they have to spin the bottles to get the treats out. This is an excellent enrichment game and can provide hours of fun!

Cardboard Box Game

For a very simple enrichment game you can place a toy or treat into a cardboard box. Close the box up, then place the box on the floor for your dog to play with. They will quickly work out that the thing they really want is inside the box! They will use their brain to work this out and it really helps to get them focussed. Although it may create a whole load of shredded cardboard, it is super fun for your pooch and they will have hours of fun!

Enrichment Games for Dogs - Dog Furiendly Guest Blog
Enrichment Games for Dogs - Dog Furiendly Guest Blog

FREE PRINTABLE – DIY HOMEMADE GAMES

We’ve popped 5 of our favourite DIY games together in this printable, including two bonus games not featured in this blog. This is pawfect printable for you to pop on your fridge as you start to pull the games together. These games can be created with things you can find around the house.

Although we are not trained professionals, we have got plenty of experience and all of these enrichment games work wonders for dogs and helps to stop boredom and keeps their brain healthy! Without stimulation dogs can become bored, anxious and distressed! By just giving your dog one or two of these enrichment games you can help to promote their mental health!

Please ensure that your dogs are supervised when using any of the above enrichment games!

Has your dog played any of these brain and enrichment games? Do you have any new games to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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