Step by Step Enrichment for Your Dog
with Ruby Leslie of WelfareForAnimals, Training Advocate

What is Enrichment?

Enrichment is a trendy and often thrown about word, but what does it really mean??

Enrichment is to provide species specific appropriate challenges, opportunities and stimulation.

Why is this important?

Dogs rely on routine to provide them with reassurance and calmness, so your enrichment should not be random acts.

Every day you should include:

·     Calming dog music like RelaxMyDog or Through a Dog’s Ear

·     Rotate your dog’s toys by keeping them in a non-accessible location so that old becomes new and exciting again

·     Physical activity like a sniffari walk, practice loose leash walking, OR dog parkour, agility or training games (if your dog is over 1.5 years old to protect growth plates)

·     Ditch the Bowl (mentioned below)

According to The Shape of Enrichment there are five categories of enrichment;

  1. Food- ways of problem solving for food like puzzle feeders, Ditch the Bowl (mentioned below) or snuffle mats
  2. Sensory- stimulating all parts of your dog’s senses like bubbles, TV programmes, audio recordings, scent work, scatter feeds in grass or in snow, Sprinkles (look in the resource section for the link to Sprinkles
  3. Environmental - novel items, rotating toys, using boxes or new items that your dog has to manipulate as they problem solve or create experiences with like the DIY Scavenger Hunt (mentioned below)
  4. Cognitive- puzzle feeders, novel items or foods like the training business DogMinded who lets their dogs try different veggies to see what they like or egg cardboard box enrichment (listed below)
  5. Social- puppy playdates with other dogs in your backyard or positive reinforcement force-free training with you (for more information about private session 1-to-1 training or remote training send us an email)



If enrichment is frustrating or fearful then that is the opposite of what it should be as these emotions increase stress AND do not decrease stress, which is the goal of enrichment.

For safety reasons there should not be any staples, tape, safety hazards of any kind or unclean boxes or items used.

Always supervise your dog during enrichment sessions. If your dog tries to ingest other items, always have reward stations nearby so you can use the cue Trade or Drop It to get it out of your dog’s mouth.








When you have a young puppy, a high-energy dog or need to work from home, every moment is a moment to reinforce and every meal is an opportunity for mental and physical stimulation.

  • Use Kong-type stuffable toys (stuffed with food, treats) for when you’re gone to teach them how to rest calmly. Repetitive licking and chewing is very calming and is a way your dog calms themselves down, so it is very important to use these tools, but especially for a puppy who is teething! You’re helping them relieve the pain of their teeth falling out
  • Scatter feeding or snuffle mats- the world is full of DIY natural snuffle mats! Use grass or snow and toss a handful of food out there and let your dog sniff. This is really helpful on walks when you’re getting frustrated with your dog. Snuffle mats are a great tool inside too.
  • Slow feeder bowls- would you want to eat your food in less than a minute? It’s not healthy. Let’s avoid bloat or other issues and help your dog slow down when they’re eating. You can also line the inside of the bowl with peanut butter or yogurt or an iced treat if your dog is teething.
  • Frozen dog treats- freeze chicken broth (no bones), yogurt plus water, peanut butter plus water, make your dog a frozen smoothie!





A scavenger hunt can be done both indoors and outdoors. It is an especially fun game for rainy days. Always keep it simple the first few times so your dog learns and is not overwhelmed. Once you have everything together, put everything into a basket, so it is simple for you to disperse the items around inside or outside for the hunt.

More advanced hunts can be outside.

If inside, have 1 person walk your dog and then another person create the hunt or keep your dog occupied in a room via training or perhaps outside in the yard!

Always be careful to not let your dog get frustrated


Beginner: create a scavenger hunt trail

Intermediate: create a wider distanced trail with boxes or treat filled toys in different situations but very easy to find and not very highly elevated.

Advanced: put boxes into boxes and all items are multi-layered



·     Toilet paper

·     Toilet paper rolls

·     Paper

·     Paper towels/toilet paper

·     Cardboard boxes of various sizes

·     Paper cups

·     Paper bowls

·     Snuffle mat

·     Dog’s own toys

·     A KONG

·     A dog tunnel

·     Towel



  1. Once you have everything together, start to prepare
  2. Get about 10 or more sheets of paper that you no longer use.
  3.  Put 2-3-5 treats (depending on your dog), roll them up in paper then put into toilet paper rolls and also into small boxes. For more advanced scavenger hunts you can put the rolls into small boxes and then the small boxes into bigger boxes
  4.  Use the cups to create stacks or circles with randomly placed treats
  5.  Put the snuffle mat along the scavenger trail, sprinkled with kibble
  6. Line a Kong-type stuffable toy with peanut butter
  7.  Hide different foods under random paper bowls placed in boxes
  8. Put treats in a dog tunnel for your dog to go through
  9. Make everything in an easy to find line/treat trail
  10. Then advance it

Toilet paper roll DIY enrichment

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Ruby Leslie of WelfareForAnimals

Training Advocate
Dogly loves Ruby because she brings her rescue experiences to our dogs - to increase our bond, decrease behavior issues.

Ruby guides you

New Dogs - Manners - Enrichment - Reactivity - Barking - Walking

Ruby is certified

Low Stress Handling - Fear Free Veterinary Professional - Fear Free Shelters - Shelter Welfare - Enrichment - & Canine Behaviour