Play and enrichment is all important in our lives and our dogs live’s. However, it doesn’t have to be done at the double and full on racing about. For some dogs, high energy enrichment is too much, even a race about the field may result in a dog pinging off the walls for the rest of the day.
A balance between running, playing, brain games and rest is the ideal
A calm dog is well balanced, happy and healthy.
We can overdo enrichment as well as under do enrichment. If you have to occupy your dog 27/7 for a quiet life, they have no ability to rest and recuperate, which should come naturally.
A dog should be able to rest and sleep when all around him is busy.
A balanced dog will come and join the activity, whether that be a cuddle, a massage, a play, a walk, feeding, when asked and rest other times.
Using Their Noses Keeps their brain healthy. Giving them fun team games also creates a bond with you.
Low impact play that make your dog think rather than react, such as finding a toy in long grass or behind a plant pot for example. Something you have previously hidden or hidden when your dog wasn’t watching. These games you work as a team, walking back towards the hidden find using a trigger word like “ Where” or absolutely anything you like as long as it’s always the same. He’s using his nose and you’re there as an initial guide.
Play time in a Team is thoughtful bonding play. He finds the toy, you run away and beckon him, he brings it back and you can swap for a Natural food reward. Rest between finds, sit and watch the beauty about you. Relaxing in these places is as important for you and our dog as walking, sniffing and playing.
Games To Play On A Walk With Your Dog
1) Get to a destination with minimal sniffing and marking. It’s not a territory walk it’s a necessity to get to play place, off lead or long lead fun.
2) Sniffing rather than walking is great for a dog and gives us time to take still time, all important in our busy world.
3) Play find a toy or two or Hide and Seek.
I love this fascinating article by Stanley Coren about why dogs sniff in embarrassing places for us, but in the world of dogs, its very natural, however unacceptable to us, A simple guide away when this happens to a human will sort the issue!!
Enjoy The Moment And Relaxing and Playing With Friends
1)Sit and massage or just be with your dog
2) Mixing everything up keeps your dog balanced in mind and body
3) Stick with a couple of great balanced doggy pals from your dog. He certainly doesn’t need to make new friends every day of his life.
3) We have a few friends and we like them because they enrich our lives, some don’t and we walk away. You need to know that the same goes for your dog in essence.
Go for a run
If you have an athlete built for running then this is great for both you and your dog. Increase you distance as you and your dog get fitter.
It’s also important every now and again to call your dog from rest to give him a thoughtful mind game. Such as;
- A bun tin with small portions of his raw food stuffed into the bun pockets.
- Snuffle matt sprinkled with Bella and Duke dried natural treats
- Coconut oil or Bone broth frozen into or onto a ridged tin.
- Puzzles filled with raw food, where the dog has to work out how to get inside.
- The power of R&R must not be underestimated. Being able to sleep and relax when all around them is busy daily family life is a huge plus when we talk about enrichment.
We love to see dogs running about playing and having fun but not at the expense of their health as too much can have a negative effect on well being. Exercise invariably exhausts a dog physically (but certainly not mentally dependenton personalityy). Ideally, we’d like to help a dog to be thoughtful and gain self-control. Dogs will run about in hot and cold weather, the hot weather being the most dangerous physically. Dogs overheat in a nanosecond and overheating arises when taking your dog for a whizz about when it’s warm and they are hyper , they can’t listen to their bodies.
Reducing trigger stacking and living on a high Flee, flight and fight state on a daily basis.
Panting dogs need to stop for a rest, especially in hot weather, but many they can’t, they are in reaction mode. Either panting is due to over-excitement or overheating. Please don’t get me wrong, full on fun is great if they can come down to calm soon afterwards. It’s when they can’t come down from the rush that issues arise.
by Caroline Spencer
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