There’s a huge disparity between a pet dog’s lifestyle and the relatively recent past of their species.
Although contemporary dogs have changed a lot from the wolves who are their ancestors, most of those natural behavioral drives remain to varying degrees. Those behavioral drives are some of the things that continue to define dogs as a species.
Throughout history, dogs have been developed and responsible for specific tasks.
Jobs like guarding property, killing rodents, retrieving birds, tracking scents, herding livestock, and pulling sleds. These behaviors were selected and bred for by humans. And they still have a huge effect on the physical attributes, behaviors, and needs of contemporary dogs.
But these days, few dogs actively work to perform the jobs and behaviors that they were bred to do. They’re living in a world created for and controlled by humans, a world that they’re not naturally physically or behaviorally suited for. The presence of these behavioral needs without the proper outlet is a recipe for unhappy and unfulfilled dogs. And that is a recipe for behavior challenges.
And that’s why enrichment is so important.
If you're interested in learning more about enrichment from me, I'll be offering a free workshop next month. Keep an eye out for those details, and go here to make sure you're in the loop!