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It’s a sad fact that many of our pet dogs today are not fulfilling the potential that they were bred for and have the capacity and need to fulfill. Many pet dogs were bred for retrieving, flushing, herding etc. etc. but now that they are no longer required for these purposes their inherent needs are not being met. The result of this is (perceived) bad behaviour in the house. A bored dog will find their own entertainment so if we can provide appropriate enrichment we will find living with our dogs easier and happier for all. The following items help us to provide increased enrichment for our pet dogs to meet some of their daily needs to seek, chew and chase.
The king of enrichment tools is the Kong. This is a great tool capable of keeping your dog entertained and engaged. There are many Kong recipes available online if you are stuck for filling ideas; you can even freeze a stuffed Kong prolonging the entertainment. Kongs are pretty much available in all good pet stores. I have found that Fetch.com are the most reasonably priced (as of Sept. 2018). https://www.kongcompany.com/en-uk/K.
Snuffle mats are a great way to introduce natural foraging indoors. You sprinkle kibble or treats among the fleecy bits so that your dog can sniff them out. We use a snuffle mat at the end of a training / play session to calm our dog down. Foraging is a calming activity for a dog.
You can buy them here (among many other places) https://www.rufflesnufflemats.com/ or if you have some free time, you could make your own. Here is an example https://www.thehonestkitchen.com/blog/diy-make-your-dog-or-cat-a-snuffle-matt/
A game of tug is a great energy expender for your dog (and you!) so long as boundaries are in place and understood – a little training is required and then it’s fun all the way. Let your dog win often to increase their confidence. Tug-e-nuff make wonderful tug / chase toys for dogs. We are fond of the sheepskin and rabbit fur tug toys – They won’t last long if you leave them with your dog so put them away at the end of play. You can get free delivery by using the code ‘PLAY’ when ordering. https://tug-e-nuff.co.uk/. You can also make excellent tug toys using items around the house such as old towels and tea towels – your dog will be just as happy.
A flirt pole is like a whip / piece of springy elastic with a soft toy on the end. Your dog can chase and catch this pretend prey to fulfil their need to chase whilst having fun with you. This is to be used sparingly as excitement can quickly tip over but it’s a great game for short bouts. If you have a large dog ensure that you work slowly enough so that your dog isn’t unnaturally twisting and hurting themselves. You can purchase a range of flirt poles on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/slp/flirt-pole/q458g7as2jm56xz