Is your dog happy at home? As a pet parent is that something you’ve ever stopped to ask yourself? I know that before DOGTV started kicking off Canine Enrichment Week and we were all talking about the many ways in which our dogs need to be enriched, it was a question I asked myself.
I looked around the house and saw my dogs have:
- A TON of toys
- They have soft beds scattered around the house so they can choose their favorites
- They have access to fresh water at all times
- They can get on the couches if they want
- They can look out the windows
- They watch DOGTV to keep them entertained when I am on a Zoom or if I have to go away for any amount of time.
How To Enrich Your Home For Your Dog’s Happiness
Do all of those items listed above mean my dogs are happy at home? You bet! Could I do other things to make them happier, healthier, more mentally and physically enriched? I believe I can!
Here are some ways I have been making changes to assure my two mini Poodles and our Golden Doodle are happier at home.
- Wash their toys. I don’t always think about doing that, but all stuffies went in the washing machine. All chew toys got a dunk in the sink and a thorough cleaning.
- Wash their beds and blankets. I do that regularly BUT this time once the beds were dry I sprinkled some lavender in one of the beds, a drop of coconut oil in the other and the others I left without a scent. I wasn’t sure which, if any would appreciate the scents or if the scents would mean they wouldn’t use the beds. My most anxious Poodle, Hazel, immediately got into the bed scented with lavender. She pulled several newly washed toys in with her and was very happy. The Goldendoodle kept licking the coconut oil — I assumed he was happy. My senior Poodle, Henrietta, chose the plain, cleaned bed or the back of the couch.
- Stash toys. I took some of the newly cleaned toys and put them away. I’d learned that if I do that and bring new toys out that my dogs will think they are brand new because they are different and they more fully engage with them again. I think it’s like with a toddler — they get overwhelmed with too many toys and are happier when a few. Swapping the toys in and out keep things interesting.
- Hide-and-go-seek. I started hiding their food puzzle toys. My dogs all love food puzzle toys, especially Hazel. She is extremely anxious and working a food puzzle toy or using a snuffle mat keeps her entertained and less stressed. Hide-and-seek kept everyone busy. I put up baby gates so each dog has his or her own room in which to search for a hidden food puzzle. I didn’t want them to lose the enjoyment of the hunt by feeling they had to “fight” for a treat. Once they’d all found their treats and were working the puzzles, I took down the baby gates. They all dragged their toys into the same room and worked on them for quite a while.
- Running around. We don’t have a fenced in yard, so my dogs are always on leashes. They don’t usually get to run around during the day, so I invested in long lengths of rope and when I take the Poodles out they are on long ropes and can run around the yard. They run, jump, chase one another and also snuffle around for the pieces of cheese I tossed in the grass. This helps give them a jolt of activity, tires them out and gives them a chance to do some scent work. I do this a couple times a day — especially on the days when I know we won’t be getting in a long walk. See even more enrichment activities from our friends at GreatPetCare.
- One-on-one time. I give each of them some undivided attention. Hazel rarely allows me to simply sit with Henrietta and be alone with her. I make time, each day, to be in a room with only one dog at a time. I play with them and their favorite toy, I give belly rubs and just snuggle with them. I do this when my husband is home because if I don’t then the dogs who aren’t with me are barking at the door — not fun for anyone! Each dog has a unique personality and each dog likes a different kind of attention and I know they benefit from that one-on-one attention.
- Feed ’em right. When it comes to dinner time, the Poodles eat the same kind of food, the Goldendoodle gets a different (Hen and Hazel are small and need small breed food, Murray needs food for a big dog). Henrietta is also on a lot of medications now so I have to mix her pills in with her food then make sure she eats them all and that neither of the other dogs get to the pills. I also sit in the room with them when they are eating. At one point during every meal they will stop eating, come over to me for a pat then go back to their meals. It’s also another bonding time.
- Healthy treat time. Treats are plentiful BUT my dogs love fruits and veggies. When they get treats I make sure they are eating fruits and veggies that are safe for dogs. They get small pieces of carrots, watermelon, apple, green beans, peas, squash, pumpkin and others. If they beg at the dinner table — which they do — we give them fruits and veggies for snacks, never human food.
- DOGTV is their companion. Henrietta is going deaf and blind and has honestly never been interested in the television. Murray loves to look out the window, but when DOGTV is on and he hears a dog barking or a bird chirping he will turn his attention to the screen. Hazel will stop in her tracks to watch. No matter what room she’s in or what she’s doing she will stop, grab a toy and come in a lie on a bed and roll around in it, all while keeping her attention on the screen.
What do you do to help enrich your home for your dogs?
We would love to know! Share a photo or your story or both on our DOGTV Facebook page or join our DOGTV Pack in our Facebook group. You can interact with other pet-parents swap stories and oohhh and aaahhh at the adorable dog photos there!
We hope you have followed along and haven’t missed any of the CANINE ENRICHMENT FUN!
If you missed anything we have put all of the links below!
Go to our Canine Enrichment page to find out about our GIVEAWAYS, FREE DOGTV and CANINE ENRICHMENT TIPS.
Make Mealtime Fun with Nutritional Enrichment — read how.
Our guest blogger explains why Physical Enrichment Matters and how to help your pup!
Read here to find some Simple Tips To Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated and Enriched.
Chances are your dog loves other dogs and we have ways to Enrich Your Dog’s Life Through Social Enrichment.