Imagine what it’s like for them…

dog and cat enrichment speech bubble

light bulb iconEnrichment is:
  • An ongoing process, not a single object or event
  • Only enriching if the animal chooses to interact with it or is affected positively by it
  • Specific to the dog based on its assessment (See Animal Assessment)

For example, when providing a dog with a toy, if the particular toy is of no interest to the dog, or the kennel is too small for the dog to engage in play behaviour, then it can not be considered enriching.

  • Improving the quality of life for the dogs
  • Helping the dogs present themselves better when potential adopters visit the centre
  • Making efficient use of a tight budget

light bulb iconBefore planning your enrichment program, use the MAKE A PLAN process to assess your dog for safety, skills and personality. This will help you determine what types of enrichment items and activities will benefit the individual dog. Ultimately, using the MAKE A PLAN process to create and maintain an enrichment schedule will provide structure and save time and effort. A complete daily enrichment program includes all opportunities for enriching the animal’s life. It would incorporate a combination of sensory, physical, environmental, cognitive and social activities.

See Sample Enrichment Schedule. Variety is the key to successful enrichment in order to keep things interesting for all canines. Modest but pleasant changes in the dog’s environment help prevent dogs from becoming at-risk behaviorally during their stay at the animal centre.

It is not possible to use every single enrichment activity listed in this section. However, choosing one or two enrichment activities from each category will ensure that the dogs in your care are stimulated in a variety of ways. For a printable version see a selection of Daily Enrichment Activities. This chart is an example of a selection of activities, how you might use these and potential benefits.

Section Feature