What Is Enrichment And Why Is It So Healthy For My Dog?

“Enrichment is the process of manipulating an animal’s environment to increase physical activity and normal species typical behavior that satisfies the animal’s physical and psychological needs. It reduces stress and, therefore, promotes overall health by increasing the animal’s perception of control over their environment and by occupying their time” -The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dog getting fed a treat

Providing enrichment and brain games for your dog will help relieve boredom and tire them out more than just physical exercise alone. Dogs who receive mental stimulation throughout their day are less likely to have behavioral issues such as barking, chewing, and digging, because their energy is being drained more constructively. 

Below are easy ways to provide enrichment to your dog at home!


Start out with easier puzzles like this one, or a snuffle mat like this. As your pup gets better at them, there are plenty of harder options to purchase!

Food-Dispensing Toys

Many of them you can fill with your dog’s entire meal, which makes providing mental stimulation a breeze. If your dog eats their meals in a flash, these toys are a great way to slow them down and keep them from having digestive issues. A favorite of Bark U trainers is the Kibble Nibble.

The Cup Game

Get three plastic cups. With your dog watching, put a treat under one and then shuffle the cups around. Release your pup to find the cup with the treat. As they get better at this, add more cups for increased difficulty.

Hide N’ Seek

Have someone hold your dog. Run to a hiding spot in another room, then have the person release your dog, saying, “find [name]!” Make your hiding spot easy at first, so your pup doesn’t get discouraged. Excitedly praise your dog and give them a treat when they find you. You may have to help them the first couple of times, but as they learn to use their nose and not just their eyes to find you, they will get better and better at it!

Teach Your Pup a New Trick

Training is the ultimate mental stimulation! Think about how tired you were after studying for a test in school or reading a book. Dogs also get drained from learning new things! Spin is an easy trick to start with that most dogs get quickly. 

  • Start with your dog standing.
  • Hold a treat in front of their nose and move it towards their rear to lure them into a circular motion.
  • As they start following the treat, continue to lure them around until they finish the circle.
  • Let your pup have the treat at the end of the circle and praise excitedly.
  • Practice this several times with the treat lure and then phase out the treat but continue the hand motion.

At Bark U, we offer three different enrichment packages during boarding

  • Enrichment Athletic Package: This package is great for Dogs with high drive and highly intelligent dogs who require more mental and physical activity, which allows them to relax at the end of the day.
  • Enrichment Snuggle Package: This is great for dogs that truly enjoy one-on-one attention and who find it peaceful and relaxing.
  • Enrichment Meal Package: Enhance your dog’s experience by having all their meals and snacks served in fun toys and puzzles. This is great for highly food-motivated dogs who eat their food quickly. 

We highly recommend adding enrichment to your dog’s reservation. Whether it’s for daycare, or boarding, you can’t go wrong by adding enrichment to your dog’s stay! Not sure which package is the best for your dog? Ask one of our Certified Professional Trainers, and they can help- visit us online or call us at 215-486-2200 today!