why-do-dogs-need-enrichment-doggy-daycare-near-meMost dog owners know the value of doggie daycare for their pets. It’s a great way to provide your dog with an outlet to burn their physical energy. What many dog owners don’t realize is that dogs also need to be mentally challenged. In fact, often mental stimulation will tire a dog out more than the traditional running and playing activities of daycare. The practice of adding enrichment activities to a day of daycare is becoming more and more popular. These enrichment activities are designed to challenge the dogs mentally by engaging and stimulating their brains. This takes an enormous amount of mental energy.

Like the human mind, if a dog’s mind is not properly engaged and challenged they can quickly get bored, which may lead to poor decisions and choices when left to their own accord. Consider what is happening that leads some dogs to dig holes in their yards or to chew furniture or clothing (or worse) when left home alone. Most of the time this is a result of boredom, anxiety, and the inability to self-smooth. In our experience in dog training, many dogs have behavioral problems that are simply rooted in boredom, and sometimes pure physical activity is not enough. They need mental stimulation like the 10 fun brain games for dog enrichment that we have suggested for providing your dog with the enrichment they need at home.

Enrichment activities for dogs are usually broken down into six categories:

  1. Cognitive: Mental stimulation
  2. Physical: Toys & games
  3. Occupational: Providing a job such as taking part in a sport like agility or fly ball, learning a new trick, or dog obedience training
  4. Social: Dog daycare, dog parks, walks in new locations, games that involve competition &/or cooperation like “tug-o-war” or “fetch”
  5. Sensory: Anything that stimulates their senses (sight sound, touch, taste, and smell)
  6. Nutritional: Lick mats, games that make them hunt and find treats; snuffle mats

There are many ways to provide enrichment in a doggie daycare facility. At Bark Avenue Daycamp we have found that activities such as treat-filled toys or treat-filled puzzles make for great fun and provide a real challenge. Lick mats and scatter mats are great sensory enrichment tools that make your dog work for his meals. We incorporate many enrichment activities into our daycare and enrichment add-ons for our dog boarders to ensure your dogs are given a full body and mind experience.

Dogs also need to learn to self-soothe so that they can cope with being alone, frustrated, or bored. Working with your dog on basic dog obedience skills and duration skills can help build this ability. For example, teaching your dog to hold a “place” or “down/stay” command for a duration of time teaches them more than just to “obey” the command, it teaches them to be comfortable doing nothing.

When you put this all together you get the formula for a healthy and balanced dog:
Physical activity + Enrichment activities + obedience skills = A happy well-balanced dog!

At Bark Avenue, we provide doggie daycare and other dog enrichment classes that will provide engagement and socialization in a safe environment for your dog or puppy. Whether you live in Bartlett, Hoffman Estates, St. Charles, Elgin, Schaumburg, or Carol Stream call us at (630) 289-8470 or contact us online if you are looking for doggy daycare near me to book your dog or puppy for doggie daycamp, dog boarding or dog training with us at Bark Avenue Daycamp.