How Enrichment Helped Hudson's Recovery

How Enrichment Helped Hudson's Recovery

By Sam Lyons @Hudson_thehunterway

When Hudson, our Huntaway x Bearded Collie, was diagnosed with bilateral luxating patella a year ago, we didn’t realise how much of a part enrichment would play while he was restricted from all exercise, especially being a high energy breed.
Prior to Hudsons surgeries, his main enrichment type was physical - we went on alot of walks, spent alot of time running around the yard and loved playing fetch and tug. Changing his enrichment sources and these activities became very important for his daily routine of resting/recovery and became focused around mental stimulation.
Hudson needed activities he could do from his crate, or in a confined space while laying down or not moving around too much.
We invested in high quality products such as the Toppl, Snoop, Gigwi Bulb, Holee Roller, Goughnuts Kannoli and several Lickimat products, such as the Lickimat Wobble, Lickimat Buddy & Lickimat Keeper.
After a period of more than 12 months on restricted exercise and crate rest, we learnt alot of ways to keep his mind stimulated and here’s some of our favourites:

Replace your bowl with food dispensing toys or Lickimats

  • Makes meal time more engaging
  • Lickimats may also reduce anxiety as licking can be calming
  • For an extra challenge you can freeze them
  • You could also use egg cartons or egg trays as a sustainable DIY alternative

Cardboard Destruction & puzzles
  • Recycle all of those cardboard boxes you have laying around, whether big or small
  • Make puzzles using several different sized boxes with treats hidden inside
  • You can also use cardboard rolls with kibble inside and folding the ends to create a puzzle
  • Encourages sniffing, chewing and lots of shredding and is a great destruction outlet
Short sniffy walks or sniffaris
  • A short, on lead walk around your yard where you let your dog sniff whatever they like and take in all the smells
Snuffle mat 
  • If your dog needs to stay inside, use a snuffle mat with kibble to encourage foraging and prevent boredom 
  • Puts their nose and mind to work
  • A DIY alternative way to do this activity is rolling or scunching up kibble inside a towel
Scatter Feeding
  • If your dogs allowed outside, you can scatter kibble around and let them sniff them out

Muffin tin game
  • Put treats or kibble in the holes of a muffin tin then cover them with tennis balls
  • Let your dog sniff out the treats and move the tennis balls out of the way
Long Lasting Chews
  • Hudson loves bully sticks and we purchased the Bully Grip to slow down his chewing but also to make it safer as they prevent the last little bit from being swallowed

Environmental change
  • Let your dog process the sights and smells of a different environment 
  • When you can supervise, you could move your dogs crate/pen/bed to a different room or even by a window to change up their scenery
  • Use a dog stroller or go for a car ride
  • Sitting outside somewhere without any risks to their recovery 
Create a secure and calm environment for them to rest in 
  • Massages may reduce stress and anxiety
  • Playing different sounds e.g. playing dog music or leaving the TV on
  • Sleeping close to your dog or letting them sleep on the end of the bed may also help them feel safe and secure so they are able to rest

*Make sure the activity you give your dog is the appropriate challenge and make sure they’re not getting frustrated. Always supervise your dog while using enrichment products to ensure they are using it correctly.
By Sam Lyons @Hudson_thehunterway
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