The 100 Day Project has been running for a number of years, specifically in relation to IT/tech stuff, creativity and the arts, and on social media #100day challenges have been applied to various areas, including dog training.
We started our first run through of #100daysofenrichment in January 2019 and it was so successful that we run it again at the end of 2019 too, to round out the year.
We had RUN3 last year, to help with some of the first rounds of COVID-19 lockdown to help us all have some fun and distraction. Corona related lockdown and distress continues and we had RUN4…and now, with COVID still impacting our everyday lives, we’re back for more with RUN5!
Cutting down on social contact, isolation, staying put, along with the stress of health fears, financial responsibilities, can have massive impacts on mental health. As many facets of our lives are going back to normal, our dogs may need extra support.
I am hoping that #100days will facilitate increased positive interactions with pets, providing a valuable social outlet for both species.
And in having a project to do, we will all have a focus that is not all about virus spread and the related chaos.
Most importantly, the dogs in our lives might greatly benefit from a structured program enriching their day to day lives.
What is enrichment?
Enrichment includes ways to add to, subtract or adjust our pets’ worlds so that they have more opportunities to choose to engage in species typical behaviours.
Species typical requirements for dogs include lots of social contact (with people, other dogs or other species – whatever floats their boat), a resting and hideaway space, functional spaces (separate toileting, resting and feeding areas, for example), mental & physical exercise, novel experiences to explore, and lots of opportunities to be a dog, doing dog things.
With dogs being such a variable species, we need to consider breed/type requirements too.
Enrichment is designed to provide animals with more choice – they get to decide how they interact with enrichment, with the things happening around them in their world.
It also helps them to have a little control over what happens to them. Enrichment can help them to learn that their behaviour works to get them things they like and avoid things they don’t like. That’s confidence building and stress busting!
Animals will find ways to enrich their own lives, if we don’t provide outlets for them. Those behaviours can be ones that their humans find troublesome so enrichment is important in preventing problems by giving your dog an acceptable outlet for dog behaviour. Everybody wins!
Think of enrichment as being a behaviour vaccine!
While the Kong toy range might just one of our favourites, we will look beyond Kongs, and food toys, adding challenges from lots of categories of enrichment.
Why #100daysofenrichment for dogs?
- Don’t let domestication fool ya!
Dogs might be pet animals but they still come with an extensive range of ‘natural’ dog behaviours including feeding behaviours, social behaviours, scavenging and hunting behaviours. They must do these behaviours – you, the human in control, decides how acceptable or not the demonstration of these behaviours will be.
- Boredom affects the welfare of captive animals, that includes domestic pets, because captive living allows them a limited repertoire of species typical behaviour.
We are not just talking at species level either, but also breed/type requirements. We know that lots of people get breeds or types of dogs that require more than a sedentary pet life can provide. Enrichment allows us to plug some of those gaps.
- Feeding behaviour is more than just eating and dogs need outlets for feeding behaviour (predatory and scavenging related), as well as social, social, sensory and exploratory behaviour.
- Dogs are natural puzzlers and are in it for the challenge and not just the end goal.
- Enrichment increases cognitive and learning abilities, reduces stress and therefore disease, and ensures animals are happier and more content.
The question should be, why wouldn’t you do #100daysofenrichment for dogs?
Who is #100daysofenrichment for?
Dogs. All dogs.
Each day will have different levels of challenges, options and adjustments so just about every dog can benefit.
These dogs’ humans will benefit too.
Each day’s challenge requires just mere minutes of your input or some adjustments to stuff you are already doing. But the effects can be much longer lasting for your dog.
We haven’t forgotten about other pets too and with a little editing and imagination, lots of other species can join in as well.
The best way to stick to the program is to tell everyone that you are doing it – share your photos and videos, post on social media, and best of all, let us know how you and your dog are doing! Tag @aniedireland and use #100daysofenrichment
Join our group to stay in with the discussion and sharing 🙂
How do I participate?
AniEd WordPress Blog
The entire program is available here too, so you can find them easily and follow along at any time.
This time around, we won’t be sharing each day on this blog.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page and like/follow it to keep up with progress. Each day’s challenges will be posted there.
Join our Facebook group AniEd #100daysofenrichment to really participate, join the community and share your progress – each day’s challenges will be posted there.
Each week, we will post the list of what you will need for the following week – that way you can be prepared!
Each day, a new challenge will be posted that will include adjustments to suit lots of pets. You just need to participate and let us know how you are getting on.
You can post pictures and clips too, which we LOVE to see, and get lots of support and feedback to help you and your dog.
Week 1 starts Monday 6th September 2021 and that brings us up to mid December for day 100.
There will be new challenges covering all sorts of categories of enrichment on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
On Freestyle Fridays, a challenge for the humans will be posted. We will provide you with the raw ingredients to develop a puzzle or enrichment device or set-up for your pet. No limits, no rules other than all the ingredients must be used in some way and it must be enriching.
Sniffing Saturdays are self explanatory! Challenges on Saturdays will be all about getting your dog’s nose working even more. The only rule – humans are not allowed to hurry them along…they get to sniff to their heart’s (nose’s) content!
On Sunday Fundays you and your pet get to repeat your favourite challenge of the week and do it again, upgrade it, re-jig it, relive it.