Enrichment has been established as important, but why? Why do we need to implement it with our pets? For so many reasons! Enrichment does a multitude of things for our pets, such as reducing stress, providing entertainment, teaching them to problem solve and goes to tiring them out, to name a few. When you encourage species- and breed-specific behaviours with enrichment toys or other activities, you can satisfy the mental and physical needs necessary for good health and well-being. Enrichment activities also help to promote the human-pet bond, by giving you new and exciting ways to interact and understand each other. All of this adds up to a more pleasant housemate and family member.
Enrichment is important for letting our animals be just that, animals! We may see species appropriate behaviour in a new light. Your dog isn’t just being ‘naughty’ chewing up your shoes, it just loves chewing! Your cat isn’t trying to make you sad by bringing in birds, it just loves hunting! Enrichment gives them some control in their environment. Setting up challenges gives them a chance to problem solve, making them feel confident and satisfied. By providing appropriate items for them to express natural behaviour keeps them occupied in a non-destructive way.
While enrichment is often added to manage and curb existing ‘problem behaviors’, it is best to introduce it from the start. Being proactive with mental stimulation could prevent a dog from developing ‘bad’ or sometimes harmful behaviors, such as excessive licking, or chewing to the point of bodily harm.
Oftentimes when a pet owner reaches out to a trainer with a concern or problem, one of the first things a trainer asks about is what the animal’s daily routine looks like. This is because often a pet’s behaviour has very little to do with training, and a lot to do with the animal’s daily enrichment. This isn’t saying you don’t need a trainer from time to time, but adding enrichment to your pet’s life is a great first step!
Enrichment is important because it’s all part of a happy healthy pet. We feed good food and take care of their coats so they are comfortable and healthy. Enrichment isn’t a ‘bonus,’ it is just an often forgotten about piece of the puzzle. Your pet requires the mental stimulation to maintain their brain to keep them feeling comfortable and healthy.
Woofs and Kisses,
Pet Subscription Boxes Team