Dog Enrichment Toys For Instincts And Senses
All dogs have natural instincts which need to be stimulated so that your dog doesn’t become bored. Enrichment toys bring out these instincts, get the dog to use his brain and fill time if they are home alone. They bring out natural foraging instincts using their sense of smell, encourage dogs to chase and retrieve, and entice play with noises that dogs respond to.
Dogs Natural Instincts
The instinct of a dog depends on the group that they belong to.
Here is a concise summary of the different groups and what they are known for.
This category is split into Sighthounds and Scenthounds. Sight hounds use their amazing eyesight to track prey. Scenthounds use their incredible powers of smell.
Examples of Sighthounds
Greyhound, Whippet, Saluki
Examples of Scenthounds
Bloodhound, Beagle, Dachshund
This breed of dogs work alongside humans They pull sledges and protect humans.
Example Labrador, German Shepherd, Newfoundland
Herding or Pastoral
This group were bred to move livestock. They work closely with humans and their intelligence and energy is renowned.
Example Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Corgi
Sporting or Gundogs
Bred to catch and retrieve game, both in the field or waterways
Examples are Retriever, Cocker Spaniel , Pointer
Terriers were bred to flush out vermin from underground.
Example Scottish Terrier, Jack Russell, West Highland White
The job of a toy dog is to be a companion dog. They are affectionate and loyal.
Examples Chihuahua Papillon, Shih Tzu
A mixed group of dogs which were never bred for a particular reason, but still have natural instincts.
Examples are French Bulldog, Dalmation, Chow Chow
Dog Enrichment Toys For Instincts And Senses
Most dogs were initially bred with a job to do. Therefore they all have natural instincts which have been passed down from their ancestors. Dogs still need to keep these sharp senses stimulated or they can become bored and sometimes destructive.
The following Dog Enrichment Toys have been chosen with these natural instincts in mind.
This is a very versatile enrichment toy for dog instincts and senses. Holes are placed so that the dog can easily pick the ball up and a a ‘giggle’ sound emits when the ball is pushed along. It is durable enough to use as a chewing toy and keeps teeth clean.
This dog mental stimulation toy has a unique squeak button in the middle, which makes it easier to attract the attention of dogs and cats. Three different difficulty designs and the 16-hole dog treat dispenser design works as a slower feeder.
Enrich your dog’s foraging instinct with this squeaky roll up snail toy. Treats are hidden in the roll up body and can be sniffed out and found by the dog. It can also be used as a tugging toy. Noises are emitted from the toy during play. Easily machine washed.
Dogs have five senses just like we do – hearing, vision, touch, smell, taste
However, they rely main on their primary senses of smell, hearing and vision.
Dogs Incredible Sense of Smell
A dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times greater than ours
Search and Cadaver Dogs
Dogs are proven to be an asset in helping the police to solve crimes. These highly trained canines or ‘sniffer’ dogs can track drugs or human remains with incredible results.
Cadaver dogs not only help to catch criminals, but give families closure when missing people are found. Their highly tuned sense of smell can alert them to bodies buried, hidden or even under water. They require 1,000 hours of intensive training and are even taught to detect the difference in human remains and wildlife who have died naturally. Cadaver dogs can detect human remains even when a body has been moved to another site. Specialists choose dogs with a high prey drive to train for this purpose.
Dog’s can hear frequencies undetectable to humans.
They can also hear noises much further away than humans can. This means they make excellent guard dogs and hunting dogs.
Dogs can be trained to alert deaf people to certain sounds. They help their owners by alerting them to alarms, visitors at the door, babies crying or the phone ringing.
Dog’s night vision is much better than humans.
They have a great field of vision and are particularly good at detecting movement. They have poor colour vision and see better at long distance. Dogs are used for hunting or tracking at night when they can see much better than we can.
Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs
These dogs give invaluable independence to visually impaired people. They keep owners safe when outside the house. by alerting to roads, kerbs and obstacles.
Support or Therapy Dogs
Therapy dogs are proven to help patients with anxiety and depression. Just stroking a dog releases oxytocin and lowers heart rate. Children with mental and physical disabilities benefit greatly when they have a dog as a companion.
Seizure-alerting dogs can alert their owner before a seizure takes place.
Dogs can be trained to detect blood sugar changes in people suffering from diabetes.
Their highly developed sense of smell can detect certain cancers by sniffing bodily fluids, breath or skin.
This enrichment toy is designed to bring out the dogs foraging instinct. Food can be hidden randomly in the folded material. It can also be used as a slow feeder if the dog tends to eat too quickly.
Homemade Enrichment Toys
Owners can easily make dog enrichment toys at home with normal household items.
- Simply hide treats in an egg box, muffin tray or ice cube tray, then put a ball over the treats so they can’t be seen. Don’t put treats in every section, make it a puzzle to work out for themselves.
- Use a cardboard box to hide treats amongst scrap paper, toilet rolls, paper cups etc.
- Hide a treat or small piece of fruit in an ice cube in the summer months.
- Wrap strips of fabric round a ball, tucking treats between the layers randomly.
It’s amazing that dogs have these ‘superpowers’ that have been adapted and refined to help humans in so many ways. Using enrichment toys for dogs really does improve mental health through play.
These boredom busters keep the dog’s brain active and stop destructive behaviour. They give dogs a job to do, which they love, and make playtime fun.
Dog enrichment toys don’t have to be expensive. Buy toys which have extra durability, or make your own from household items.
Dog Training With Kindness, Consistency And Positivity