The Benefits of Mental and Physical Enrichment
Happy Hounds is committed to ensuring that whilst your dog is in our care, they receive the best possible attention and are stimulated both physically and mentally.
It is commonly understood that physical activity is critical to a dog’s health, but the importance of mental stimulation as a contributor to their overall wellbeing is also vitally important. We call this enrichment.
Enrichment activities help your dog problem solve, learn more efficiently and increase its confidence, not to mention mentally tire them out to encourage them to sleep soundly.
Most importantly, enrichment makes your ‘hound’ happy, which as you know is a key component of true wellbeing and a cornerstone to the Vision of our business.
Group play sessions are extremely enriching for dogs who are able to interact socially off the lead with other dogs. If your dog is friendly with other dog’s they will enjoy lots of social interaction based on their compatibility.
Individual play sessions are provided for guests who would prefer human company to that of other dogs or they may have medical or behavioural needs that restricts their ability to run around in our exercise paddocks.
Just like us humans, all dogs are different and we can cater for the majority of individual needs – so if your dog has specific requirements, please ensure that this is communicated when checking in your dog.
Secure Recreational Paddocks for Exercise and Enrichment
We have five large self-contained, fully secure flood-lit paddocks that are used during the day to exercise your dogs and where group play sessions take place. Four of our paddocks are grassed and one is an all weather enclosure, ideal when the weather is inclement. Our paddocks are surrounded by 2m high metal fences that enclose the entire kennel facility – your peace of mind, knowing that even the most sneakiest of escape artists are kept where they should be!
Our Approach to Enrichment
Whilst in our care, we provide an enriched environment as part of a comprehensive behavioural wellness plan. This ensures our guests receive proper housing, consistent daily routines, adequate physical exercise, mental stimulation, social companionship and where possible, positive reinforcement training. This approach covers but is not limited to:
- All guests will be housed in their own kennel room with access to their own private en-suite covered outdoor run with views over the paddocks, garden’s and beautiful countryside
- We have single, double and triple occupancy kennel rooms, allowing dogs from the same pack family to share the same accommodation and keep each other company
- All our guests will be provided with a raised bed together with soft bedding for added comfort and warmth
- Owners may also choose to bring their own bed and / or blanket as familiar bedding and smells can help the dog to settle in easier
- Food and drinking bowls are provided, including, and when appropriate, the use of ‘slow-feeders’ to discourage those guests who are known to eat too quickly to avoid any sickness or upset stomach. All exercise takes place at least an hour after meal times to ensure that their food has been digested properly to mitigate against bloat
- Fresh drinking water is replenished regularly throughout the day
- Two dedicated daily activity sessions (approx. 20 minutes each) where your dog will enjoy a supervised off-lead gallop and play in one of our five communal secure outdoor paddocks. Whilst group exercise and social contact with other dogs is far more fun and stimulating, we will need formal consent from you giving authorisation for your dog to socialise and play with other dogs. We will always use our experience and your guidance to decide whether your dog should be exercised with other dogs
- Additionally, dedicated 1 to 1 human interactive sessions can also be accommodated and scheduled accordingly for those dogs that prefer human company, where “find it” or “tracking” games can be played
- All social activity sessions are specially planned to consider the compatibility of all our guests. We think carefully about the individual needs of your dog factoring in breed, size, age, health and behavioural characteristics at all times
- If deemed suitable and should the weather permit, the activity sessions will include the safe use of various items of outdoor agility equipment including paddling pools in warm weather
- Owners are encouraged to leave one or two chew toys to play with during their time in their kennel room – these can be rotated to maintain novelty and interest. Additionally and where appropriate, these toys along with other treats can be frozen in an ice block to further aid mental stimulation
- Lavender or food scented air fresheners are sprayed in the kennel areas throughout the day to stimulate their sense of smell
- Soothing music is played (Smooth Radio or Radio 2!! ha ha!!) throughout the day and night to stimulate their hearing and to encourage calmness
- Night lights are left on during the evening for additional comfort