Canine Enrichment help burns energy that your dog is designed to expend through searching for food, shelter, and social contact.  In our homes they have everything they need yet they often engage in behavior that is problematic for the household.  This is because the energy intended for seeking out resources is not being appropriately utilized and so the dog now spends it engaging in problematic behavior.  To resolve this issue we must intentionally provide our dog this energy that don’t involve destroying your furniture, chasing the mail man, or knocking Grandma down the front steps.


Canine Enrichment is not running laps around the yard, repetitive fetching, or other impulse driven activities that are only letting off short bursts of accumulated energy.  These activities will not activate their seeking system in a way that truly .  Running at fence-lines or chasing small animals can actually INCREASE your dog’s frustration because they are never able to realize the fruits of their labor.  

Chasing a laser pointer could unintentionally cause your dog to become obsessive about ‘catching’ the light. This could transfer to other light reflections from your door or phone.  It may seem like fun and games but it could literally drive your dog crazy!   The dog park is not appropriate for dogs with social anxiety around other dogs or people.  If the dog is alone and they are not actively engaged in intentional enrichment activities then they are likely engaging in stress or boredom related behaviors.  


Good canine enrichment is dog-directed and requires problem solving.  It has to be something they enjoy doing in order for it to reduce stress.  Puzzle or Food Dispensing Toys such KONG are one way to burn energy.  KONG Wobblers can be filled with dry food and this could be how your dog enjoys his meals.  KONG Classics or Extremes are great for stuffing with canned dog food or Greek yogurt to give your dog some busy work.  Rooting for their meal in a ‘Snuffle Mat’ replicates scavenging outdoors. Snuffle mats are made from commercial rubber matting and fleece strips is another way to keep your dog occupied.  

You could save old shipping boxes that your dog can shred or even nest several boxes within one another that your dog must sort through to get his snacks.  Canine Enrichment on Facebook is a handy resource full of ideas for providing busy work for your dog.  Alternatively you may be able to provide enrichment by taking your dog on a ‘Sniffari’ so they can decompress.  A 15 foot leash gives your dog the room to explore and sniff his environment. Shorter leashes cause frustration because your dog is constantly running out of room.  Sniffing activities are a phenomenal way to help your dog burn energy since much of the brain is devoted to olfaction.  Any time spent sniffing, such foraging for food, is time spent burning energy so put that nose to work!


What’s an activity that you could incorporate into your dog’s daily routine to help them reduce stress and burn energy?  When will you try it with your dog?