It is about creating places to explore, by placing different objects on a few square meters. Exploring it safely allows our dog to gain self-confidence. He learns how to handle difficulties using all his senses. He can observe, listen, feel the objects or places visited. He learns from each exploration that the world is not dangerous and that he can cope with obstacles.
Instead of throwing away cardboard boxes and items we no longer need, we can reuse them for our dogs. However, be careful to create secure environments. Depending on the temperament and physical abilities of our dog, it is important to offer him an environment that suits him.
During this activity, as in any other, our dog may need a break. He might move away from all these objects for a few minutes or longer, depending on his needs at the moment. Let him do it! If we organize an enriched environment indoors (in a garage or a play room for example), make sure he still has an exit so that he can move away from the environment if necessary.
All we have to do is to put the objects, provide a bowl of water and a way out. Our dog will do the rest, we just have to observe him.
Vidéo: Koumack in a carpark
Those who do not cope
Some dogs, for example, are more sensitive to noise than others. For these dogs, it is important not to have noisy objects like a carillon or gantries with items that the wind could make clink together. Some items that are too light, such as plastic bags and empty cardboard boxes, can move or fly.
Others are “obsessed” with certain objects, such as a ball, a stuffed animal, a stick, a plastic can or a cone. For these dogs, it is important not to have “too interesting” objects. They may give them their full attention, chew them and carry them around, without showing any interest in the other objects. While they play, they do not explore. In addition, if the ground is crowded with other objects – the principle of an enriched environment – our dog might get injured while running and playing. Let’s not lose sight of the stress hormone levels that exciting situations cause.
Vidéo: Koumack and plastic jug
Some dogs like to dig. We can organize a search area on tarmac for example or at home. They will then be able to focus on the different objects selected for them.
Vidéo: Koumack is digging
If we are in charge of a litter, some precautions must also be taken: it is essential to offer them novelties, by offering a single new parameter at a time, whether visual or auditory. Comforters or blankets of different sizes and textures are great novelties for puppies of a few days. From three weeks, other objects can be integrated gradually.
If we have adopted a new recruit, regardless of his age, it is essential to adapt to our dog’s abilities. We can offer him more and more difficulties, by renewing objects and places, respecting the evolution of our companion.
We can offer our dog to explore with one of his friends. Two socialized dogs that have not met yet can get to know each other in an enriched environment, so that they can be gently introduced to one another. We can also explore miscellaneous places during our walks, such as a construction site, a house under construction, a warehouse, a garbage dump or a parking lot. The different smells of those places are renewed to infinity, given the movement of people, materials or vehicles: olfactory and visual evolutions almost daily.
- Spread various every day objects to create a secure area that can be explored
- Choose naturally enriched places for walks
- Exploring improves selfconfidence, learning to manage difficulties and using all senses
- Collecting or making objects to create secure enriched environment
- Taking account of the temperament of our dog (fear from sounds, hyper-sensibility, reactivity from sudden movements,…)
- Taking a break is sometimes necessary