Enrichment for Greyhounds
Feb 24, 2023
There are plenty of ways to keep a greyhound entertained, and I have tried them all over my 5 years of owning greyhounds. There are several reasons you may want to provide some extra enrichment for your dog: they get bored when they are alone, or maybe you need a way to slow down their eating.
You need them to focus on something else for a while when you are busy, or you just want them to have some fun! It is certainly true that all dogs benefit from enrichment – just like humans, who are stimulated by our phones, toys, computers, and friends, dogs need the stuff to fill their time with, and mental stimulation is just as important as physical. Here are several fun ideas for you.
- Slow-release feeders and puzzle toys: These are sold in many places and can be lots of fun. My greyhound Pancake has a ‘puzzle ball’ we got from Kmart – it has a small hole in it, and if he knocks it around enough, the treats we have stuffed it with fall out. He is delighted every time this happens and continues to play with it after it is empty – just in case. Puzzle toys come in lots of forms and complexity levels; my hound Bean used to have a wooden board that has sliding compartments all over it, and she had to work out how to push them to get to the food underneath.
- Homemade treat puzzles: The above toys are fun but can be expensive. But do not worry, there are tonnes of ways to DIY them! My favourite is using empty toilet rolls. You can shove a few treats inside them and fold the ends in. Alternatively, egg cartons work well too and the good thing about them is that toilet rolls and egg cartons are harmless; so, if your hound devours some of it in their attempts to break in, it is no harm done. When creating at-home treat puzzles, never use things you would not normally want your greyhound chewing on. For example, I would not hide treats in Tupperware containers, because that might tempt my hound to grab them off the counter just in case, they have treats in them! Even freezing treats in an ice cube tray can be a great puzzle for a greyhound.
- Snuffle mats: These can be homemade or bought. A snuffle mat is a mat with lots of small pieces of fabric tied to it, all condensed and sticking up, and the idea is to shove treats in between all the nooks and crannies to let your dog ‘snuffle’ around and find them. Most commercially available mats are machine washable, too, so there is no need to worry about the smell. You can buy plastic mesh, mats, or rug bases at Bunnings – then all you must do is tie as many little skinny strips of fabric to them as you can. It could be a great project to do with the kids, too!
- Sand and water pools: One of the best things I ever bought for my hounds was a shell pool from Bunnings. In the warm months, you can fill this with water for them to splash about it and keep cool. But you can also fill them with sand and give your greyhound the perfect ‘safe’ digging spot! This has two benefits; it prevents them from digging elsewhere in your garden and gives them a fun thing to play with!
Keeping your greyhound enriched is important and has so many benefits. If you have any tricks that work well for you and your dogs, please send them in via our social media – we would love to see them!
Author: Charlie Jayde
Greyhound Owner for 4 years / GAP Volunteer
Experienced Dog Trainer