Enrichment is all about giving the dog some opportunity to apply their senses in human-approved activity. If the dog enjoys it, it is probably enrichment.
A well-rounded bit of enrichment will have elements of stimulation through several means: physical, mental, sight, sound, touch, and smell. A major goal is to give our dogs some mental stimulation. All dogs need a healthy dose of exercize, but, it is usually not enough. Giving the dog “a job” using their brain is both tiring AND calming for dogs. For most dogs, a solid session using their noses and brains will probably tire them out faster than going for a run. Thinking is actually hard work!!
Enrichment doesn’t have to be food, but since food is an important part of a dog’s day, delivering food using enrichment activities will be appreciated by the dog!
Our classes combine as many stimulating factors as possible in a class setting. In addition we give our participants many further games to play at home with the family using ordinary household items.
Most dogs will have preferred activities. For example some will like to chase things while others will like to seek and sniff. Participants will learn which sorts of activity are most appealing for their individual dog. Participants will also learn some useful foundation skills to support teaching of new tricks.
Class size is limited to four dogs. This allows appropriate space for easy movement between stations around the room (for both dogs and humans).
This is not an obedience class and there are no pre-requisites. All that matters is that the dog is SAFE to be in a class with other dogs, people, food, toys and movement. The dog has to be in control and not making a disturbance.
Obviously the first concern is that the dog is not a danger to others in the class, and that the dog doesn’t disrupt the learning for other people and their pets.
However, it is also important that the dog is comfortable in the environment.
If the dog isn’t comfortable ….. then clearly the dog is somehow stressed by the experience. Enrichment is supposed to improve quality of life for the dog and if the class environment doesn’t do that, then why would we force the dog to endure it? Such dogs will be removed from class. Their human will continue without their dog and they can take comfort in knowing that they have put their dog’s needs first. Anyone who is wondering whether or not their dog would be comfortable can make an appointment for a free exploratory visit (15 mins).
Applications for Enrichment classes must include health information from your vet. In addition to the standard core vaccinations, dogs participating in classes also need Bordatella (Kennel Cough). Completed form and a copy of the veterinary record should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next (4 Week) Sessions:
Where appropriate, waiting lists will be shown below with initials only. Where class cancellations are needed for weather or other emergency reasons, participants will be notified by email and a post will be made on Twitter.