Day 100 Pockets

Welcome to Day 100 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.

Don’t forget to review all the information leading up to #100daysofenrichment and more here on playing safe. Know your dog!

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Pockets

At a glance:

  • let’s have fun with puzzles again today and try out some of the challenges you didn’t get to try yesterday, or build on yesterday’s progress
  • puzzles that you can make as simple or complex as your dog desires
  • food based enrichment
  • turn your dog into a pick-pocket on the hunt for puzzling fun
  • get the family involved in this one – kids love making puzzles for pets and these challenges offer lots of opportunities for children to use their imagination to come up with the best busy boxes for their pets.
    Remember, supervise children in all enrichment activities and interactions with pets.
  • Some pockets puzzles might take some time to prepare, but you can work on more straight-forward challenges if time is tight.

What do you need?

  • anything that has pockets; might include old hoodies or jeans, or bathroom organisers, plant or shoe organisers
  • food rewards and toys
  • boxes, tubs, paper, eggboxes, balls, paper cups, cardboard tubes, bottles, and all your puzzling stuff!
  • Stuffables

Enrichment Goals:

  • to encourage a wide range of foraging and exploratory behaviours
  • to do more feeding related behaviour than eating
  • to encourage the development of strategies (behaviours) for getting the food out of  the pockets and puzzles
  • by varying the design of your pockets puzzles we will facilitate carrying out a range of different behaviours, broadening the dog’s repertoire

While this challenge is certainly food based, they are also experiencing cognitive, sensory and environmental enrichment, with lots of crossover between categories.

Working out how to get to the food and developing dexterous skills in manipulating the puzzles are examples of cognitive challenge.

Sniffing out, tasting and chewing food all offer sensory pay off, but so does finding their way through each food puzzle, determining its value,  and engaging in the puzzle of getting to the good stuff.

Pockets puzzles encourage pets to interact with their environment – just the very interaction with the puzzle is encouraging the pet to manipulate their surroundings, to get the things they like.

By offering a variety of pockets puzzles, we want to help the dog expand their range of puzzle-busting behaviours and facilitate your pet applying strategies from other puzzles to new ones; that’s a true cognitive gift and is growing your dog’s brain!

What goals can you add to this list for your pets?

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How can we achieve these goals?

  • give your pet plenty of space for working on puzzles and bear in mind there will be mess, so think about spaces that are easier for clean up
  • hang up  pockets puzzles on the back of a chair (for clothing) or secure a pockets puzzle under a closed door so that is kept in the same spot
  • the more difficult you have made the challenge, the higher the value the reward must be so use HIGH value foods to motivate exploration and experimentation and make it VERY easy to get the food (no frustration!)
  • if your dog just dives in, in full on destruction mode that might also be an indicator that they need an easier challenge so they get to experiment with a broader range of behaviours

What adjustments will you make for your pets?

Applications of Pockets Puzzles:

Lots of dogs enjoy snuffling and rooting, and pockets puzzles give them an outlet for this behaviour and can be a fun and simply way of slowing eating behaviour, while encouraging a broader repertoire of behaviour.

Puzzles pockets are pretty adaptable so difficulty can be increased and decreased to suit the individual dog’s abilities and comfort level.

Care does need to be taken with the level of challenge presented. Remember, enrichment must be enriching, so it’s much more beneficial to keep the challenge doable and allow the dog to develop the skills.

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Because of the home made nature and variable materials used in these puzzles, it’s best to supervise your pet carefully when they have access.
Know your dog! If you have an ingester, some of these puzzles may not work for your dog.

If you are concerned about your dog ingesting non-food items during puzzling, have a pocketful of HIGH value treats in your pocket and be ready to toss a couple toward your dog, across their eyeline, if you think they are thinking about eating the paper.
Making sure the challenge is very doable and they can get to the hidden food rewards quickly is key to modifying their behaviour and expectations during puzzling.

Check all your equipment for this challenge carefully and make sure to remove tape, staples, other fastners, small pieces and plastic pieces. Play safe!

Enrichment Options

Today’s challenges:

Beginners: 

  • add food rewards to each puzzle
  • hang clothes pockets puzzles from the back of a chair, or similar
  • use shoe organisers, or similar, flat on the floor
  • use pockets that aren’t too deep
  • fill the pocket with lots of food so it’s easy to get

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Intermediate:

  • introduce simple puzzles to some of the pockets, for example paper parcels
  • hang clothes pockets puzzles from the back of a chair, or similar
  • use shoe organisers, or similar, flat on the floor
  • use pockets that aren’t too deep

Advanced:

  • add a mix of puzzles to different pockets to really challenge your dog with the Ultimate Puzzle!

Get your puzzles ideas from the #100days masterlist and some of these ideas here:

Pockets Puzzles:

A hoodie, jacket or even an old pair of jeans make for a great pockets puzzle. Hang it on the back of a chair or bundle it up on the floor and let the puzzling begin!

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Puzzlemania!

The Ultimate Puzzle is a shoe organiser or other pockets puzzle with a different puzzle in each pocket!

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Suspend it!

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Your challenge

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!