When considering animal welfare and environmental enrichment, it is critical to remember that both are individual-based. While animal caretakers and managers are often concerned with populations, enrichment and welfare are not – what is beneficial to one individual may not be for another. https://theshapeofenrichmentinc.wildapricot.org/About-Enrichment
So how do we achieve enrichment in a group environment?
- Through our interview process we carefully select dogs who will thrive in our environment. These are dogs who enjoy the company of other dogs regardless of different ages, sizes or playstyles. We protect the integrity of the group to create a safe space for all the dogs.
- We are member only and dogs are required to attend twice weekly. This fosters relationships between the dogs and also our staff. Trust is key.
- We provide the space and freedom to make choices. During the day the dogs can make choices about what activities they are engaging in whether it be following a scent, playing with friends, catching a nap, digging a hole, rolling around or engaging with staff.
- The environment encourages variety and options and the dogs get to learn to make choices.
- Dogs who need a little more structure and focus so they can have access to more freedom get the support and one on one time they need. Because we know each dog as an individual, we can make space for them to grow and to learn to make good choices on their own and within the group.