Okay, so last Tuesday evening, I arrived home around 8:00. Earlier that evening, I taught my group mini course at Collierville Pet Hospital. My Australian Terrier, Bentley was quite happy to see me finally get home. I had a few high value treats in my pocket, leftovers from group class. Rather than let Bentley earn the treats via a few commands, I decided to play a game to enrich his environment. I call this game the Nose Game.
I grabbed a fistful of pieces of his normal dry dog food and tore the training treats into very small pieces. I scattered the handful of dry food and treats on my patio and invited Bentley to come outside and sniff around. He was excited to smell the treats, but because the bits of goodies were scattered amongst the dry kibble, he had to use his nose to find the best pieces. It was fun to watch him by pass dry kibble while he sniffed diligently to find the few fragments of the training treats. Once all the treats were gone, he sniffed around and ate the dry food.
These sorts of food scattering games will enrich any dogs’ environment and give them a chance to use their noses to find food.
Environmental enrichment is a term used to describe an event or procedure which provides animals a better chance to use their natural gifts. One might enrich a giraffe’s environment by placing hay or grass feed on a platform several feet into the air, so that the animal must use his long neck, and stretch to get the food.
Any sort of food finding game is great for your puppy or older dog! Food toys like the tug-a-jug and plain ole scatter feeding are wonderful ways to make your pup’s day!