Enrichment - You don’t have to be rich to enrich!

Imagine a day on your own with no company or conversation, no TV, books or magazines, radio or mobile phone or computer and only able to leave the house if someone takes you. Sadly, that’s the life of some dogs and cats.

A walk for a dog is the equivalent of our conversation with friends, chatting on ‘facebook’ and the X-Box all rolled into one.   Exercise is just one essential activity for a dog.  

We believe enrichment to important for mental exercise as well as physical exercise, helping our residents to feel engaged, happy and relaxed. 

 

Enrichment ideas at home

enrichment activity boxA cheap interactive toy for your dog is an ‘activity box’. All you need is some dog toys and treats and an old cardboard box. Cut holes in the box and poke some treats and toys through the sides. Encourage your dog to investigate the treats and toys. As you can see here, Dave is having great fun investigating his activity box!

 

We also use tuna trailing to get the dogs’ noses working, we have sandpits and paddling pools and interactive food toys such as treat balls and Kongs to make feeding time more fun (both available to buy from LAA reception). Our staff are trained in TTouch which can help dogs relax and become more focused, we run monthly workshops here at the Centre so you can learn this skill too. 

Cat enrichment ideas

Until a cat is settled into a new home it is essential that they are not let outside and as a general guide this would be about four weeks.  However, this is dependent on the individual cat.

Kittens playing

Whilst a cat is confined to indoors you can introduce new toys for them to play with and chase. Cat nip toys can be especially rewarding.  A scratch post will hopefully discourage them from choosing your sofa to sharpen their claws!  Regular grooming by you will help to cement the bond between cat and new owner and although cats are known to generally be more independent than a dog, they thrive on companionship and interactive play. Even adult cats can be persuaded to practice their stalking and pouncing skills on an old shoelace, or play hide and seek in a cardboard box!

We owe it to our pets to provide them with an opportunity to be happy and healthy and live a life that meets their needs and not just our own.  So get creative!