Providing dogs with social interaction, as well as physical and mental stimulation are critical factors for maintaining their behavioral health. Enrichment programs can help relieve shelter dog boredom and stress, which can make a major difference in a shelter dog’s daily life. The best types of enrichment, for most dogs, involve interaction with people or other dogs.

Dogs are social animals; interactive enrichment fills a void for dogs who are usually housed alone throughout the day. Because shelters are often short staffed, interactive enrichment can be difficult to provide for every dog, because it is very time consuming. For these shelters, we recommend working toward creating interactive enrichment programs, however, options for enrichment that do not involve lengthy direct interaction with people or dogs are also included below (such as playing alone games).

All of these enrichment activities below will help to keep dogs busy, so they are less likely to do things we DON’T want them to do.