‘Tis the season to give our pets the gift of enrichment

Enrichment for your dog is nothing to sniff at...but for your dog, sniffing is everything


During this time of year, where we give and receive gifts to show those closest to us just how much we love and appreciate them, it is no wonder our pets are just as involved in the action. Infact a third of us now spoil our pets with gifts galore at Christmas! 

But did you know, the best things you can do to enrich your dogs’ life and show them you love them are entirely free?! 


Stop and smell the flowers 

Did you know sniffing actually activates the ‘reward centre’ in your dog’s brain?! 

It’s a mood booster, for them, meaning they connect better with the world around them, end their walks more settled and satisfied and helps achieve more all-round optimism in your dog. 

Not only does their ‘nosework’ allow your dog more autonomy and agency over their natural behaviours, but it positively influences how your dog perceives the world! They’ll be less anxious, and more confident and much happier while they stroll. 


Take your time 

Allowing your dog to take time to sniff and explore the world with their nose is also extremely beneficial for you too.  

Taking the world in at your dog’s pace helps you to slow down, observe and be present in the moment, the key to a more ‘mindful’ way of living!  

The opportunity to encourage your dog’s exploration and expression of natural behaviours also helps you gain greater empathy and a better understanding of your dog’s overall wellbeing. 


Senior pets 
Speaking of physical activity, enrichment is a perfect option for senior pets who aren’t quite up to their longer walks anymore. Ensuring your senior dog is mentally stimulated with things like puzzle feeders, nose-work and play is a great way to provide enrichment for your senior pet, without including more physical exertion. 


Opt for the birthday suit instead of the Christmas costume 

We know pet outfits can seem very cute, but we generally advise against costumes and outfits for your dog for a few reasons. 

Dog clothing can cause skin problems and irritation as the materials can rub against the animals' skin, and often novelty outfits contain choking hazards and can be made with poor quality materials. 

Depending on the costume, not only can your furry friend’s freedom of movement be restricted, but their communication via body language can also be limited. Dogs communicate their feelings through the position of their ears, the position of their tail, their posture and their eyes. If these means of communication are concealed or restricted by costumes, our companions may not be able to communicate to us how they are feeling.   


Speaking of Body Language 

Recent research revealed that nearly 9 in 10 dog owners cannot recognise signs of stress and anxiety in their canine companions, despite 72% believing they could identify signs of fear and happiness in their dogs.  

Some of the signs that dogs show when they are feeling unsure, stressed, or anxious can be quite subtle, but it’s much easier if you know what to look for. One of the best gifts you can give your best friend is to learn more about their body language and how they communicate with us. There are lots of fantastic free resources online about canine body language, from videos to drawings to social media accounts.  

Just like us, it feels good to dogs when their subtle communications are noticed and responded to, and they can be free to express themselves and be heard. This helps grow our trust and relationships with our dogs and who among us doesn’t want that!


Enrichment is incredibly important for your dog’s development and wellbeing, so this summer ensure that you give them the ability to explore and express their natural behaviours for a more enriched experience for both of you! 

Check out our guides for dog owners


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