Dog Enrichment

Allowing dogs to engage in their innate behaviors, such as playing, chasing, smelling, chewing and scavenging is essential to their emotional and physical well-being.

DIY Enrichment Ideas

It doesn’t take much to create enrichment activities, toys, and experiences for dogs to enhance their mental and physical well-being. You can use everyday items or crafting materials to design interactive and engaging toys and games that keep dogs mentally engaged and entertained. These are often inexpensive and can be customized to suit the individual needs and preferences of different dogs. They are a great way to provide mental stimulation, prevent boredom, and promote overall happiness and health in dogs. Try some of these with your dog:

1. Treat-dispensing toys

Create homemade puzzle toys by cutting holes or slits in a plastic bottle or cardboard box. Fill them with treats or kibble, and let your dog figure out how to get the treats out.

2. Snuffle mats

Make a snuffle mat by tying fabric strips or fleece pieces to a rubber mat or a piece of mesh. Hide treats within the fabric, and your dog will have to use their nose to find them.

3. Agility course

Set up a mini agility /obstacle course in your backyard using objects like hula hoops, cones, chairs, boxes, broomsticks and tunnels. Guide your dog through the course, encouraging them to jump over, crawl under, and navigate various obstacles.

4. Scent games

Hide treats or toys around the house or in your yard, and encourage your dog to use its nose to find them. You can gradually increase the difficulty by hiding the items in more challenging places.

5. Frozen treats

Make frozen dog treats by blending dog-friendly ingredients like yogurt, pureed fruits, or vegetables. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays or Kong toys and freeze them. These treats can keep dogs occupied and provide a refreshing snack on hot days.

6. Homemade tug toys

Braid old T-shirts or towels together to create a durable and interactive tug toy. This gives your dog an outlet for their natural tug instinct and provides an engaging playtime activity.

7. Dig Box

Fill a large container or shallow kiddie pool with sand, soil, or shredded paper. Bury treats or toys in it for your dog to dig and discover. This mimics the natural behavior of digging and provides mental and physical stimulation.

8. Hide and Seek

Hide treats or toys around the house or yard and encourage your dog to find them using their nose. Start with easy hiding spots and gradually increase the difficulty.

9. Flirt Pole

Attach a toy or lure to a string or rope and use it to create an interactive prey-like movement. Engage your dog in chasing and capturing the toy, providing physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Remember to supervise your dog during DIY enrichment activities to ensure their safety. It's also essential to consider your dog's individual needs, preferences, and any dietary restrictions when selecting materials and creating enrichment toys.