Welcome to Day 62 of #100daysofenrichment and thank you for joining us on this journey!
Although our challenges are directed mainly at dogs, we want all species to enjoy and benefit from #100daysofenrichment so, please join in, adjust and adapt to help your pet or companion live a more enriched life.
Searches & Scavenger Hunts
Saturdays during #100daysofenrichment are all about emphasising the dog in all our dogs; all about sniffing and doing dog things.
Let’s have some fun setting up some searches and scavenger hunts for treats, toys or stuffables.
You can set up simple or more elaborate searches, hiding just one food item, or hiding one or more food puzzles, like in the video clip above.
These can be set up any place, any time, in the house, or out on walks. Your dog is already really good at finding things with but now we are going to ask him to search for something we know is hidden.
Add to fetch games, or even better, play toy searching rather than repetitive fetch games
Searching for a toy is likely much more beneficial that strenuous, repetitive fetch games. Even slotting a search in to fetch games, every two or three throws is a nice way of varying the game, better maintaining healthier arousal levels and giving your dog a whole-brain (and body) work out!
Use snow or long grass to really challenge your dog’s nose and searching skills!
When choosing a search area, check it carefully before bringing the dog in and beginning the search.
Check for cables, sockets, glass, sharp objects or corners, machinery or moving parts, nails or staples, hot surfaces, slippery surfaces, hazardous substances, distractions from scents; even things like doors or steps can cause the dog to bring their head up suddenly, striking it.
Always play safe!
You can hide your dog’s food, treats, favourite toy or even Stuffables!
Keep it simple, and think of how the air might flow through a space to understand how your dog will detect and narrow in on odour. We talk a lot about this on Day 55 too!
As always, keep the challenge do-able for your pet. Hide one high value food or item in an easy accessible spot to get started with. The more fun and winning your dog has with this game, the better they will be able to persist and work on multiple and harder hides.
Scavenger hunts are a search with several prizes, so they often suit food more than toys.
You can scavenger hunt indoors, hiding small piles of food rewards or even just one treat, behind different pieces of furniture, doors and so on. Let your dog loose and guide them to any hides they miss.
Outdoor scavenger hunts can create extra challenge and it can take a bit of practice for the dog to learn to keep searching for multiple hides.
Drop a treat in every couple of steps that you take; start with straight lines or gentle arcs but once your dog is methodically searching, you can add turns and bends.
Sniffing for food
Ideally, we would like our dogs to be sniffing out their regular meals, as much as possible. But, some dogs will need a little help to get them going and we can have our dog sniffing for treats too!
Kibble is a pretty versatile food type for enrichment type feeding, and works well for this exercise.
You can add kibble in with other yummier treats and toss those. Or you can make a Training Mix so that kibble smells and tastes yummier, but without having to add extra calories or other foods, should the dog be sensitive or restricted.
You can improve the smell/taste of kibble by grilling it a little, so that it becomes crunchier and oilier. You might also soak it in stock or other flavouring.
Wet and fresh foods can be a little more challenging:
- Fresh meats and meat mixes (e.g. raw and home prepared diets) – cut up into small pieces, boiled or baked, frozen in small ice cube trays or pyramid baking mats for small individual treats.
Alternatively, you could use dried or semi-moist meats and cut them into small pieces for tossing. (Note that you feed a smaller volume of dried or dehydrated foods as they are more concentrated.)
- Wet feeds (e.g. canned foods) – frozen in small ice cube trays or pyramid baking mats for small, individual treats.
Don’t forget fruit and vegetables too, if you’re dog likes them. Frozen peas are one of Decker’s favourites for sniffing!
Now it’s your turn. Show us what you and your pets, of any species, can do with these challenges!
Post to your social media accounts, using the #100daysofenrichment so that we can find you and join our Facebook group to share your experiences, ideas and fun!
You can comment right here too 🙂
We look forward to hearing from you and your pets – have fun & brain games!