Training Sessions and Teaching New Skills:
Let's not forget the basics! Of course also putting the work in and actively training your dog also "counts" as mental enrichment!
For DAY SEVEN - our final day in our Week of Enrichment series - we are talking about the enrichment benefits of actively working with and training your dog.
All of the enrichment suggestions we have covered so far during this series have focused on different activities that allow and facilitate your dog exhibiting natural dog behavior in a variety of ways. All of these activities can be extremely beneficial in meeting your dog's behavioral needs over time, resulting in a calmer, more relaxed, and more fulfilled dog who is much less likely to exhibit undesirable behaviors.
I never tire of seeing photos and videos of clients' dogs crashed out and sleeping soundly post-training session!
In addition to all of those creative ways to "let your dog be a dog," actively spending time training your dog new behaviors and skills can be an incredibly mentally (and often physically!) enriching experience for your dog.
With the various high energy dogs I have personally lived with, I can often take them for a long run, give them the opportunity to jog alongside by bike, and go for long hikes, and sometimes they still come home and seem to say "That was a fun warm-up, what's next?!"
It is worth noting that intentionally shaping calm behavior in the house is a big component of teaching these high energy dogs to have an "off switch" (feel free to reach out if you need help teaching your dog this valuable life skill!). However, I have found time and time again with countless dogs that even a short training session focused on practicing or learning a new skill satisfies them and tires them out very consistently. Good training = good mental enrichment! After even a short training session, I often see even the highest energy dogs opting for a deep nap with restful REM sleep (legs twitching, dreaming of chasing squirrels anyone?!).
With my personal dogs, I train and compete in sports with my dogs sports like Obedience and Agility, and I consistently find working on the precision skills these sports require (using motivational, positive reinforcement-based methods) provides a wonderful amount mental stimulation and enrichment.
Even if dog sports aren't your thing, you can do living room and backyard training sessions and reap the same benefits. If you are looking for some inspiration on some fun, fancy, or practical behaviors to train your dog, I encourage you to check out this "Dog Tricks Tutorial Playlist" by trainer Emily Larlham from Dogmantics Dog Training on YouTube:
Also consider working with a professional trainer or behavior consultant for in person (or virtual) training help, whether you need assistance working through a behavioral issue with your dog, or just want some guidance and inspiration to teach new behaviors and skills, bring out your dog's best potential, and have fun in the process.
Spotted Success, LLC offers in person private training in Pinellas County, Florida, but I also offer virtual sessions available to anyone, anywhere with a dog. For more information on working with me, visit:
If you need help finding a trainer locally, I encourage you to check out the following Search Listings as a starting point to find a certified professional near you:
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) Dog Trainer Directory:
International Association of Applied Animal Behavior (IAABC) Behavior Consultant Search:
Now pick something new to work on, and go train your dog! Happy Training!
As always, feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions or want guidance on what might be appropriate for your individual dog.
Thank you so much for joining us for our Week of Enrichment series!
This was an enjoyable series to put together, and I hope you are ending with some motivation and inspiration to provide a variety of enrichment activities for your dog to meet their behavioral needs, reduce problematic behaviors, and improve your dog's (and your!) overall quality of life.
Stay tuned and make sure to "Like" and follow Spotted Success on Facebook (Spotted Success, LLC) and on Instagram (@spottedsuccess) for more dog training and behavior content.