Canine DIY Enrichment

Canine DIY Enrichment

The key to a happy and healthy dog is regular enrichment and allowing them to engage in their innate behaviors, such as playing, chasing, smelling, chewing and scavenging. By allowing your dog to engage in these behaviors, you allow them to be physically, emotionally and mentally satisfied. Dogs who don’t receive stimulation tend to find ways to enrich themselves, resulting in unwanted behaviors.

The following are fun DIY projects that will help keep you and your dog entertained and busy during quarantine. Please ensure that you are always closely and actively supervising your dog(s) while DIY items are accessible to them. If your dog attempts to ingest an item, remove it immediately from their mouth.
 

Food Enrichment

Making mealtime fun, challenging and interactive is a great way to satisfy your dog’s innate instincts and curiosities. Every meal is an opportunity for enrichment, and food puzzles are a great way to slow down your dog’s eating and provide mental stimulation. You can easily make the following puzzles with household items!
 

Muffin Tin Puzzle

Muffin Tin Puzzle

What You’ll Need:

  • Muffin tin
  • Tennis balls and/or other toys
  • Dog or puppy kibble

How To:

  • Distribute kibble in multiple tins.
  • Place toys on top of kibble.

 
Box Puzzle

Box Puzzle

What You’ll Need:

  • Three boxes that can nest in each other
  • High-value “smelly” treat(s)

How To:

  • Place treat(s) inside smallest box; fold top of box.

 
Paper Roll Puzzle

Paper Roll Puzzle

What You’ll Need:

  • Toilet paper or paper towel roll
  • Treats

How to:

  • Fold one end of the roll, place treat(s) inside.
  • Fold the other end of the roll.

 
Snuffle Mat

Snuffle Mat

What You’ll Need:

  • High-pile bathroom mat, or fleece strips tied to a rubber mat
  • Dog or puppy kibble

How to:

  • Place and hide kibble throughout mat.

 
Environmental Enrichment

Keeping the inside of your home stimulating and fun will help decrease boredom and decrease potential behavioral issues. Get creative! Take a look at the following in-home activities you can offer your dog to promote appropriate behaviors.

 
Indoor Agility Course

What You’ll Need:

  • Various pieces of furniture/household items
  • High-value treats

How to:

 
Make Your Own Flirt Pole

Make Your Own Flirt Pole

What You’ll Need:

  • 1" diameter PVC pipe or broom handle
  • Rope
  • Dog Toy

How to:
almosttherealthing.com »

 
Scent Games / Find It

Scent Games / Find It

Whether you’re playing indoor scent games or you’re out on a walk, it’s incredibly important to allow your dog to use their nose. Sniffing can be stimulating and calming and allows your dog to gather information on their environment. You can help them sniff things out in fun, interesting ways!

What You’ll Need:

  • High-value treats

How to:

  • Say “find it” and toss a treat close to your dog. When your dog gets the treat praise your dog.
  • After you dog starts to get the game slowly start making it hard. Once dogs learn the game you can begin hiding treats for your do to find.
  • Or, take a walk at your dog’s pace allowing your dog to stop, sniff and take in the scents

Learn more:
suzanneclothier.com »

 
*Worried about using cardboard?
Research as of April 10, 2020, indicates COVID-19 cannot live on carboard longer than 24 hours. If you are concerned about contamination, wait 24 hours before utilizing cardboard for enrichment purposes.

*Reference to product names or websites in this article is for informational purposes only. The ASPCA is not necessarily affiliated with the companies or parties that produce the referenced products and inclusion of product names in the article does not constitute the ASPCA’s endorsement of the products or services.