How dogs can learn to the fullest of their potential?
Something essential in our day to day lives is learning.
We learn new things everyday, whether that be in an educational or social environment. Like us, dogs learn very similarly in numerous different ways. A specific way a dog can learn new things is by participating in something called learning enrichment. Today, we will learn what learning enrichment is to a dog, discuss the many forms of it, learn the benefits of it, and ways that we can help enrich our dog's learning.
So… What is Learning Enrichment?Learning Enrichment for dogs are activities that help increase mental and physical activity. These activities often promote certain forms of behavior and are used to stimulate the brain.
There are several forms of Learning Enrichment!- Social: Learning via social interaction with both humans and other animals. This kind of learning can be seen when taking your dog to the dog park, or even the store!
- Cognitive: This is a way of learning that involves problem solving and critical thinking. This form of enrichment can include puzzles, snuffle mats, etc! Physical- The way you keep your dog energized and entertained. This includes the physical activity your dog partakes in. This can be a walk in the park, or even playing with another dog.
- Sensory: Learning that is supposed to trigger the 5 senses of taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight. This kind is arguably the most important, and is used to stimulate the brain. It is supposed to help them get in touch with their instincts! This kind of enrichment can be seen when dogs roll in the grass, play fight, or even when they dig!
- Feeding: How you challenge your dog into regulating their eating habits. Often used to slow/fasten their eating, or to help them get more activity. Kongs can help enforce this kind of learning.
- Toy: This is the use of toys to help entertain your dog! Many toys and activities can enforce this learning, such as playing fetch, tug of war, or even throwing a frisbee.
What are the benefits of Learning Enrichment?There are several!
- Learning Enrichment can heavily reduce stress in a dog!
-It helps dogs become more social and encourages them to partake in their natural instincts and innate behavior (ex- sniffing, scavenging, playing, etc.).
- Helps to stimulate their brain, and develops critical thinking! Creates a better bond between you and your dog!
So, how can I help my dog partake in Enriched Learning?There are many simple and easy ways to help enriched learning become a part of your dog’s life!
These are things you can do with everyday items in your home.
It is recommended that you partake in Learning Enrichment with your pet for at least 20 minutes a day.
- Ice Cube Tray- First, you take an empty ice cube tray. Next, you put treats in the empty holes, and put water over the top. You then put the tray in the freezer. After, you take the frozen ice cubes out, and give them to your dog! This challenges them to get the treats out and gives them something to play with.
- Water Bottles- Take empty water bottles, cans, etc. and give them to your dog! These can serve as a toy, and help entertain them.
- Snuffle Mats- You can either make a snuffle mat using old rags, or buy one! With a snuffle mat, you hide the treats inside, and have your dog find the treats. This rewards your dog, and gives them a fun activity to partake in.
- Hide & Seek- Take an empty box and insert treats or a sound inside. Next, give it to your dog! They must use their critical thinking skills to get the treats out. This is a challenge for your pet, and helps entertain them.
- DIY Treat Dispensers- Stuff old empty containers with treats. Cut holes into the container, and give it to your dog to let them learn how to get the treats out. You can do this with creamy treats (like peanut butter), or do this with other treats as well. In the end, it helps them think more and serves as a reward to get the treats out. - Everyday Activities- Take your pet on a walk, or play some good old games such as frisbee or fetch with them! Give your pet lots of love, and have a good time with them! They will be very entertained and happy. This helps enforce good social etiquette and helps improve the bond of human and dog.
Other Learning Enrichment Toys and Games!Here are some Learning Enrichment games that can be found at our store! We highly recommend these, and think they are great learning exercises for pets.
- West Paw Puzzle Rumbl
- Zippy Paws Burrow (Interactive toy)
- Injoya Snuffle Mat Outward Hound Multi Puzzle Spin Fun Interactive Slow Feeder
- Pet Zone Interactive Boredom Busters Bowl
Overall, Learning Enrichment for dogs is needed for them to live their happiest and greatest life. It helps dogs gain critical thinking, and improves their well being. It rewards both you and your pet, and is a fun activity for all to engage in!