We’re on TV: Simple Canine Enrichment Ideas for a Happy and Healthy Dog

We all want to provide the best possible life for our furry friends. One way to ensure your dog is leading a happy and healthy life is through simple canine enrichment activities.

I had the opportunity to appear on Talk Pittsburgh, a show on KDKA-TV, to share some incredible ideas for enriching your dog’s life. Lucy came along to help me demonstrate a muffin tin game and a busy box. She did great on live TV!

Simple canine enrichment ideas like these can mix up your dog’s routine, provide mental stimulation, and keep them engaged. Check out the video of our television segment below and read some excerpts to learn how to incorporate canine enrichment into your dog’s daily life.

Dog Enrichment Ideas Featured on Local TV

Watch the TV segment below to learn more about how you can make the most of life with your dog and ensure they’re happy and healthy. Thank you to Heather Abraham of Talk Pittsburgh for being a great host and playing along with me and Lucy!

Key points we cover:

  1.  Canine enrichment is essential for every dog, regardless of age. It adds excitement to their day, mixes up their routine, and helps keep them mentally sharp, contributing to their overall well-being.
  2. Simple, at-home activities like the Muffin Tin Game and the Busy Box provide mental stimulation and entertainment for your dog. It’s a great way to tap into their natural abilities and keep them engaged and happy.
  3. Teaching your dog new tricks isn’t just for puppies. Even senior dogs like Lucy enjoy learning and practicing tricks as a fun mental engagement activity.

Q+A with Heather Abraham and Tori Mistick

Heather Abraham, KDKA: Tell us about canine enrichment. Why is this so important?
Tori Mistick: Canine enrichment involves adding positive experiences and varied activities to your dog’s life. Most dogs often spend a lot of time indoors, and enrichment provides them with exciting experiences, keeps them mentally sharp, and helps them stay younger longer.

Heather Abraham, KDKA: How much activity do they really need?
Tori Mistick: You only need to do a 5-minute enrichment activity to add adventure and a positive experience to your dog’s day.

Heather Abraham, KDKA: Canine enrichment sounds really important. How does it benefit them?
Tori Mistick: Enrichment is so important for dogs because it can break up their routine and keep them mentally sharp. It allows them to use their senses, tap into their instinctual abilities, which includes their sense of smell. Dogs have a wonderful sense of smell and it’s important to let them sniff.

Heather Abraham, KDKA: What are some simple canine enrichment ideas pet owners can do at home?
Tori Mistick: Some easy activities for canine enrichment that pet owners can do at home include using a muffin tin and tennis balls to create a sniffing and treat-finding game, as well as creating a “Busy Box” out of recyclable materials for dogs to shred and interact with. These activities are not only simple to set up with supplies from around your home, but they’re also brain games for dogs.

Heather Abraham, KDKA: What about teaching new tricks? Does that count as enrichment? 
Tori Mistick: Teaching new tricks to older dogs can greatly benefit them mentally, as it keeps them engaged and happy. Even in their later years, dogs love to learn new things! My dog Lucy is almost 12 years old and she loves to learn new things. Try teaching your dog how to spin or shake because those are also great for mobility.

Step-by-Step Instructions for 2 Simple Canine Enrichment Activities

Want to get in on the fun? After you watch our TV segment, I recommend you try the games Lucy and I demonstrate with your own dog. Below are the supplies and instructions for each activity.

muffin tin and tennis ball game for dogs

Muffin Tin Game

For this activity, you will need a muffin tin and a few tennis balls.

  1. Place some healthy treats in a few of the muffin cups.
  2. Then, cover the treats with the tennis balls.
  3. Encourage your dog to use their sense of smell and move the tennis balls to uncover the treats.

This game can be easily modified to be easier or more advanced as your dog gets better at it. It provides mental stimulation through problem solving and engages your dog’s natural sense of smell.

Busy Box Activity

Gather recyclable materials such as yogurt containers, berry containers, and cardboard boxes. A Busy Box is a great way to feed your dog their dinner once a week or played more regularly with a few healthy treats.

  1. Hide treats or dry kibble within the recyclables.
  2. Layer the containers and boxes to create a DIY dog puzzle.
  3. Encourage your dog to shred and dig through the materials to find the food.

You can make this a fun and rewarding experience for your dog. A Busy Box engages their natural instincts and keeps them entertained. I love this activity because it’s free to make with simple supplies around your home.

A Busy Box is one of my dogs’ favorite enrichment activities!

Raising Awareness About Simple Dog Enrichment Ideas

Incorporating canine enrichment activities into your dog’s routine can have a profound impact on their overall well-being. By engaging their senses, providing mental stimulation, and introducing new experiences, you are ensuring that your furry friend leads a fulfilling and happy life.

I’m so happy that we got to appear on Talk Pittsburgh with KDKA-TV to share the benefits and a few demonstrations. I know at least a handful of Pittsburgh pups got to do busy boxes after our segment aired. I’ll take any opportunity to get pet parents educated on dog enrichment and show them how easy it is to add to their dog’s life! 

I encourage you to try that or the muffin tin game. These are both easy enrichment activities to bring into your dog’s routine. Your furry companion will thank you for the mental and physical engagement these activities provide!

Remember, a few minutes of enriching activities each day can make a significant difference in your dog’s happiness and overall health. You do not need to spend an hour a day, buy expensive gear or go to far-flung locations to give your dog enrichment.

These simple games are proof that you can make it easy and still provide your dog with a great experience!

Can you commit to doing simple canine enrichment ideas with your dog for just 5 minutes per day? Comment below and let me know if you’re up to the task!

Learn more about canine enrichment in these posts: 
Kong Stuffing Hacks to Mix Up Your Routine
Make Your Own Snuffle Mat for Dogs
The Best All-Natural Dog Chews my Labs Love
DIY Busy Box Activity for Your Bored Dog


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Tori Mistick Labrador Dog Mom Blog

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Tori Mistick is a blogger, podcaster and certified Canine Enrichment Specialist. You might call her a professional dog mom! Tori has a soft spot for senior dogs and loves the color pink. Based in Pittsburgh, PA.


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