It’s commonly understood that enrichment provides massive benefits to animals under human care, whether those animals are in zoos, aquaria, shelters or sleeping on our couch. What is far less well known is exactly what “enrichment” means beyond feeding animals in a way that presents challenges to acquiring food or giving them puzzle toys or regular toys to amuse them. While these offerings are certainly important pieces of many enrichment programs, they’re only a fraction of the entire concept of enrichment.

In the 2019 book Canine Enrichment for the Real World: Making It a Part of Your Dog’s Daily Life, authors Allie Bender and Emily Strong note that enrichment can be defined as “meeting all of an animal’s needs as closely as possible to how they would be met in the wild, in order to empower them to engage in species-typical behaviors in healthy and appropriate ways.”…

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