History of enriched environment:
Enriched environment was once devised for Animals in Zoos to give them activities to use their natural instincts and brains. Think of swings, ropes, climbing equipment, but also, for example putting food in objects for mental and emotional needs in addition to their physical needs.
How important is enrichment for shelters?
According to the book "Canine Enrichment" from Allie Bender and Emily Strong - publisher Dogswise quote: "Aside from caring for these animals, mental, emotional, instinctual and physical needs, enrichment can in theory, provide a better adoption and retention process. Meeting an animal's needs typically creates a more confident, calmer animal who is usually a more appropriate member of our society and exhibits fewer desirable behaviors. This is what adopters want to have in their homes!
Advantages of an enriched environment:
-Stimulates the senses
-Helps the dog to become curious
-The brain capacity grows as a result
-Learning to deal with difficult situations
-Dog calms down
-Your dog produces happiness hormones such as dopamine
- Gives dogs the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a normal dog's life. A safe place where they can come to learn skills.
- Helping dogs confidence and help them to socialise (e.g. Rescue puppy mill dogs)
For sniffing and exploring
What can you use: Best is to use different stuff, objects and spread them over the area e.g. on the grass/ snuffle garden / place where dog can free sniff and explore. 2nd hand stuff (do not wash/clean them!) who make a dog curious to investigate, sniff, walk over it, grab it in the mouth.
E.g. Use a shopping bag, egg box, Child seat, hay / straw, sheep wool, plastic bottles, carpet/rug, etc. On daily basis : You can give dogs also stuffed kongs or food puzzles, snuffle mats, treat search with food, fill carton boxes with paper. Dogs love to destroy paper.
You can also find more information and ideas on: http://www.dogbrochures.com/brochures/76/enriched-environments