The Value of Enrichment for your Best Friend
Many dogs arrive in their forever homes full of love and optimism. Sadly, their new parents realize that their dog’s past has left them with emotional scars that show as fear of people and things that, as humans, we think shouldn’t create any fear at all.
As a new parent you know that you want your best friend to be happy and healthy, but it can look daunting given all the fear they seem to be carrying. In a case like this, more than time is needed for both the dog and the parent. Patience, one-on-one training, and lots of love are needed.
Training gives a dog confidence, and that confidence helps them overcome their fear. Parental understanding of what goes into the training will help you recognize that confidence.
Sweet Brady came from St. Louis to Denver covered in ticks and fleas longing for his forever home. The folks at the Dumb Friends League of Denver suspected that he was at least neglected, probably abused. He was so lucky to have found a great new home.
Being in his new home did not come without some challenges based on the past he brought with him. He is skittish of sudden movement, strangers, and all of the new sights and sounds outside in the world.
I introduced him to the 'muffin tin game' which is a wonderful low cost puzzle toy that has really helped him try new things as well as give his brain something wonderful to focus on. It’s so wonderful to see the stress melt away once he he feels he can trust and enjoy what’s happening.
With fear, it’s all about giving time and letting the dog make the choices as to what they want to handle, along with a loving human that can guide them through the process.
How to set up your own Muffin Tin Game:
Get a muffin tin from you kitchen cabinet
Get enough tennis balls to fill each space ( I asked my neighbor for old tennis balls)
Put really high value treats under each ball
Let the fun begin!
Rinse and repeat
There are many games that an effective trainer can bring to each situation. Dogs enjoy being trained when they enjoy playing games, and repetition offers the positive reinforcement that slowly brings that change. This is one of the many tools that I can offer to you and your new best friend.