Today’s guest writer is Stacy Mantle. She is writing about how to enrich your dog’s five senses. 

Dogs are more than just adorable balls of fur who adore you. Just like humans, they are complex animals with five critical senses that need to regularly activated. Veterinarians and behaviorists alike agree that the best way to keep dogs happy is to keep them engaged.

A holistic approach to canine enrichment will help eliminate behavior problems and work towards keeping your dog balanced and happy. Some dogs will be unable to use their sense of sight or sound due to injuries or defects, but they can certainly benefit from other forms of enrichment.

Enrichment for Your Dog’s Five Senses

Here are five easy games to help you achieve a more balanced, active and happy dog.

Engage Your Dog’s Sense of Smell

Nosework is an ideal way for dogs to use their all-important sense of smell. When you’re on a walk, make sure you allow your dog to sniff new things along the route.

Hide and Seek is one of our favorite indoor games for pets. It’s simple to do – just hide a treat under one of three or four empty boxes and ask your dog to find the treat. Build this exercise out to add new boxes, new hiding places and extra low-calorie treats that your dog loves. Eventually, you can build up to hiding treats around the house. Dogs love a good game of “hide and seek” for treats!.

Engage Your Dog’s Sense of Sight

Encourage your dog’s sense of sight with fun toys that require them to chase, pounce or observe. DogTV is the ideal solution for pets while they’re indoors.

Bubbles, tether ball and even remote-controlled cars can be fun ways to keep your dogs busy in the yard! Remember to watch over them – these types of items should not be used without supervision.

Engage Your Dog’s Sense of Sound

Did you know your dog can experience great benefits from simply reading to them? Dogs are a lot like children and they love to hear their pet parents read aloud and it’s also a great activity for you.

It’s also been proven that music can soothe the savage beast! However, the type of music you select can impact pets in a variety of ways. Electronics like PetAcoustics are specifically designed with dogs in mind.

Engage Your Dog’s Sense of Touch

Whiskers, which are touch-sensitive hairs called “vibrissae” are the root of your pet’s sense of touch. But brushing and petting your dogs are the best way to flood them with happy endorphins. Just like humans, dogs love to be loved!  

Engage Your Dog’s Sense of Taste

You may think your dogs are only able to taste beef or fish (or some other protein) but dogs are omnivores and need a variety of foods for a balanced diet. Just like humans, they need something other than dry kibble to chew on. Try introducing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables with different textures. You can’t go wrong with carrot sticks and the fruit of watermelon. But be cautious – not everything is safe for pets. Remember, moderation is the key!

There are many benefits to keeping your dogs active with their five senses and everyone wins. Engaging these senses will help your dog stay calmer, be more relaxed and listen more closely to you.

What do you to enrich your dog and his or her senses? Please leave us a comment and let us know your unique ways of enriching your dog’s environment!