“I’m always giving my dog enrichment activities to do” or “I try to give them things to do that mentally stimulates them”. These are the two things that I hear from almost every dog owner that contacts me about their dogs behaviour.
It’s plastered everywhere online now isn’t it? We don’t just need to tire our dogs out physically anymore but need to do it mentally as well apparently, so why is it that when we do both of these things we still get problems? The answer is simple, it’s because you also have to tire them out emotionally.
Think about the times when you have told someone you feel emotionally drained, how tired were you? Did you feel like you could sleep for a week? Our dogs are the same, they can go for an hours run, do another hour of activities aimed and wearing out their brain but then you have that dinner party and as soon as the guests arrive they’re bouncing around all over the place and want everyone to play tug of war. This is purely because the excitement suddenly sets in and their emotions are the only things we haven’t drained from them today.
Rescue Centres know this, they have dogs with various physical, mental and emotional needs in kennels for long periods at a time, which is why they build Sensory gardens for them.
Sensory gardens can stimulate the dog’s brain, encourage them to interact with their surroundings and build their confidence. They also activate their natural canine instincts and allow them to release any built-up emotion that they may be holding onto.
They’re usually full of various different shapes, textures, sounds and smells to really let the dog use all of their senses and get the maximum effect. Sensory gardens are the perfect activity for any dog but especially for anxious, nervous or over excited dogs.
I’ve always been intrigued by the effects of a sensory garden and have wanted to set up a fixed one for my own dogs for years but have just never had the area to do it. Then I had a brainwave!
Why does it need to be fixed? If I had a mobile one then dogs and their owners everywhere could benefit from it!
My mobile sensory garden is equipped with various different activities including dog safe plants for them to sniff, hide and seek games for them to enjoy, water toys for them to dip their noses or paws into and trampolines and large balls to build confidence. It is quickly assembled and packed away again and can be adapted to fit into any size area either indoors or outdoors.
If you fancy letting your dog have a go you can either hire it for an hour or come and try it out at my canine sensory garden workshops, which are being held at Steeple Village Hall in Essex every Saturday from the 7th November.