What is Dog Enrichment?

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January 17, 2024

Contrary to days past, most dogs today don’t have “jobs”. Thoroughbred dogs have been bred for specific purposes, and every dog is a natural forager, which means they are animals that work to find food. Historically, many of a dog’s traits involve performing physically demanding tasks for their masters, such as herding and hunting. These days, most dogs are out of a job. Sounds nice…like a lifelong retirement, right? Well, not exactly. 


The abilities and traits that dogs were bred with combined with the fact that dogs are natural foragers means that they need to put their brain and bodies to work to satisfy these instincts and stimulate their amazing canine senses. Without satisfying these needs, you might see an uptick in unwanted behaviors, such as digging, chewing, marking indoors, and overall anxiety. A bit of canine enrichment can be the key to giving your pup an appropriate outlet for their natural instincts to keep them happy and healthy.


How Does it Work?

Canine enrichment involves providing dogs with environmental stimuli in a variety of ways to promote physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Generally, there are six principal types of enrichment: cognitive, occupational, physical, social, nutritional, and sensory. Most of the time, more than one of these forms of enrichment can be provided simultaneously. As a matter of fact, combinations are more stimulating for dogs because they create complexity, which is great for dogs.

Cognitive enrichment centers around mental stimulation with specific targets. Examples of cognitive enrichment are teaching decision-making skills by encouraging impulse control and developing resilience to unfamiliar situations, things, and stressors. 

Occupational enrichment is a fun way to challenge dogs by assigning them a task that requires exercise and concentration. Tasks can be as simple as paying attention to their master without losing social connection. An occupational enrichment job can also be as complex as training them to be service dogs to an individual with disabilities.


How Can UltiMutt Help?

We believe in supporting your pup’s mental and physical health as well as “letting dogs be dogs”. Can both be done at the same time! Absolutely! That’s why we have the UltiMutt Enrichment Club with activities that range from cuddle time to a fun Sniffari walk around the farm. Every detail is all based on your dog’s individual needs. Read more about Enrichment Club and pricing here!