HOW WE DEFINE ENRICHMENT
the action of improving or enhancing the quality or value of an experience.
en: the width of a unit of measurement
ment: expressing the means, or a result, of a species-typical behavior in a way that strengthens each individual dog in their behavioral well-being
Why Enrichment and Not Daycare?
FOR TOTAL WELL-BEING, DOGS NEED:
guidance, more than supervision
games and activities
access to the great outdoors
to be in the company of great role models
people who love him/her as much as you do
a healthy outlet for play
a place to be safe
a place to call his/her second home
freedom to make choices
the company of other friendly dogs
home away from home
robust movement opportunities
opportunities to grow
What Enrichment is NOT
How Enrichment Saves Lives
Animal advocates have been interested in providing enrichment to the animals in their care for many, many decades. Zoos and Aquariums have been using the term “enrichment” for many years in an attempt to describe the things they do, provide, add, and enhance, to captive living conditions of wild animals. Fundamentally, the purpose of providing enrichment is to achieve the first step in the humane treatment of all animals living in captivity in conditions that impose restrictions for them to behave in a way that is normal, wild, and natural.
While the term enrichment has existed in use to describe “higher-level care” offered to animals in Zoos and Aquariums, it has only gained popularity in the dog world in the last three years.
Domestication of animals (and plants) has served humans in more ways than we can clearly describe. Is this relationship mutually beneficial? How do we know with certainty?
We were the first to recognize that dogs too, need enrichment. We searched worldwide for a working model of canine enrichment to no avail, which led to the birth of Doglando – A Canine Enrichment Center and Working Laboratory For Dog Care Professionals.
Doglando was founded on the principles of honoring domestic, companion dogs (also known as domesticated restricted pet dogs) in some of the same ways people respect street dogs.
“The process of domestication modifies a species genetically through selective breeding and ultimately allows humans to have control over an animal’s behavior”.
At Doglando, our goal from Day One, has been to give our companion dogs access to the types of freedoms they would have without our:
- poor judgement, and
- control over them.
Over the last nearly two decades, the creation of the concept “Canine Enrichment” has evolved into a framework that can be easily implemented by anyone, and its results are clearly observable and measurable, lessening ambiguity amongst providers, caregivers, curators, and trainers.
The impact enrichment has had on the learner, in our case the domesticated restricted companion dog, has been life-saving. Despite many attempts of behavior modification and training, our dog parents have experienced much relief and freedom for themselves as well, because of our whole dog approach, Doglando’s Canine Enrichment program offers.
Enrichment is not something you do for the dog. It’s an opportunity you create by giving your dog access to an environment that is carefully, thoughtfully, and strategically created to allow a dog to behave in the most species-normal way.
Free of judgment, reckless, and faulty interpretations of their behavior – which often results in control and diminishing environments – we have taken our field research of documenting street dogs and free-roaming dogs in developing countries over the last two decades, and applied it to create an environment that provides the fundamentals of living standards for dogs.
As a result, our Enrichment program has saved the lives of countless dogs by:
- better understanding them
- providing conditions that are conducive to their well-being
- giving dogs an alternative to a restrictive, sedentary lifestyle
More than “ditching the bowl” and offering dogs a fun and more stimulating way to feed, our Whole Dog Approach functions in three essential ways:
- Training: Teaches key behavioral responses to specific signals; develops Skills.
- Canine Skill Building: Generalizes skills to different scenarios and conditions, for mastery and fluency.
- Enrichment: Where Training and Skill Building come together and where total wellness is achieved using the 8 Spheres of Enrichment framework.