Dogs v Gardens: 3 Easy Dog-Friendly Garden Enrichment Ideas

Lay down your lawn and give peas a chance with our three easy dog-friendly garden enrichment ideas. Sit back, relax, and watch your dog grow.

Regular watering helps your dog bloom

What is Enrichment?

The dictionary describes enrichment as 'The action of improving or enhancing the quality or value of something' In gardening terms, this could be enriching the soil for more plant growth, resulting in a bumper crop of fruit or flowers. In canine terms, this could enhance both the mental and physical welfare needs, resulting in feelings of security, well-being, and a willingness to engage. We sow the seed and nurture it; from tiny acorns to great dogs grow.

To Chew or Not to Chew

Take a good look around your house and garden. You do not need expensive plastic puzzles that cost the earth for canine enrichment. Recycle, reuse, be imaginative, be creative, make a mess! Add fun and sparkle into your dog's life, build confidence, motivation, and create a great lasting relationship with your dog.

I Have a Cunning Enrichment Plan 

Creating an Enrichment Plan for your garden does not have to be complex; we can use the simple 'What,'Why,' and 'When' approach:

Sit in your garden and observe your dog.

What does your dog spend his time and energy doing?
Does he chew the bench you are sitting on like a possessed beaver?

Why do you think he does this?
Chewing is a natural behaviour; it helps keep the dog's teeth clean and jaws strong. Understanding why your dog chews helps determine the most appropriate form of enrichment. Consider the dog's age; a younger dog who is teething may seek pain relief.
A dog left alone outside may feel anxious and stressed; he may have learned chewing the bench gets your attention.


When does he do this?
Make a note of when this behaviour occurs. Does your dog react to noises in the environment? Can he smell your neighbour's dog under the fence? After a frantic early morning walk? After any of these (or similar) encounters, you may notice your dog chews to relieve tension, frustration, or anxiety.

A Plan is Born 

Once you know what outdoor activities motivate your dog, we can implement the enrichment plan. While gardeners may learn through trowel and error, dogs learn through association and play. While sitting outside with a well-earned cuppa, give your dog a job to do; prevent him from going 'self-employed' and shredding what remains of your beloved bench. Rather than tell him what he cannot do, offer him something he can do. Match up his skillset with your dynamic and inspiring garden enrichment ideas. Remember, change the environment, change the behaviour.

To get the garden party started, check out our three examples below:

Frozen Delights 

What you need: Plastic cups, string, low-fat natural yoghurt, or any freezable treat.

Instructions: Pierce a hole through the middle or bottom of each cup. Place a piece of string through the hole and tie a knot.Fill the cups with their treats, such as yoghurt, and freeze.
Once frozen, hang the cups up outside, along the fence, garden chairs, table, or the washing line.

Remember: You want the cups to be just in reaching point for your dog. Always supervise your dog when food and objects are in use.


We Plough The Fields And Scatter 
What you need: Healthy treats, frozen treats, or your dog's dinner.

Instructions: Hide pieces of food up throughout your garden and even in the grass. Be creative. Release your dog and watch him go on a sniffari.

Mix it up: This game can be an excellent way to change how your dog usually eats his dinner; it can also help dogs who hastily gulp down their food.


Dig For Victory!
What you need: Sandpit sand, wood chips or soil; raw bone, smelly sausages, or toys.


Instructions: Place the items of sausages, raw bone, or toys into the sandpit. To begin with, do not bury them entirely. Actively encourage your dog to seek out the buried treasure. Enthusiastically praise once found.

Can you dig it? If you catch your dog digging outside of the given sandpit, redirect him back into the sandpit and repeat your enthusiastic praise once there.


Enrichment is exhausting!

The Roots of Education are Bitter, but the Fruits are Sweet

Before waving the white flag and admitting defeat, bring some peace and tranquillity back into your garden with the help of a reputable, ethical dog trainer. An excellent place to start is Find a Dog Trainer. Understand the problem, and you are halfway to solving it. Learn the art of communicating with your dog; here at Kelly’s K9s, we are constantly inspired by the courses offered by Canine Principles.


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