The Bodhi Chronicles: Enrichment

One of the challenges in providing a good life for a blind dog is the need for enrichment. That’s true for all dogs (and cats and people and…) but a sighted dog can at least look out the window, people watch, bark at the mail and package deliveries and such. Bodhi can’t look out the window, and I guess we are really blessed that he seems to not care much about mail and deliveries, or barking for that matter. But the problem is that his days can be ones of crushing boredom if we don’t help out with some enrichment.

Our arsenal of enrichment activities continues to grow. The bells on walks and for guidance in running have been great; we play hide and seek with them in the house too, where Bodhi has to come find us when we ring the bells.  We usually get him out for walks four times a day, and when there’s time there are field trips to new places, or to the accountant’s office where he can raid the treat drawer.  But we keep working on other new and interesting activities that not only use his body, but also his brain. When I worked with a local trainer recently, Bodhi came home from our hour-long session TIRED, as in trashed, and rested until the next morning. So I’m working on some of the things my friend suggested with Bodhi to add a little more zest to his days.

Betsy, my trainer friend, noticed what I had seen too…Bodhi never really learned to use his nose much. So I’m working on helping him to use that to have some fun with games and food puzzles. “Find it,” the game of searching out a smelly treat in a relatively small space is pretty challenging for him still, but we’re working. As often as not he finds the treat by stepping on it, instead of sniffing it out, but he’ll figure it out eventually.

The food puzzle, however, is going a bit better. I put all of his dinner kibble in a puzzle, and he goes to town getting his food out. It slows down the eating, which never hurts, but it also makes him think and work to get what he wants, and you can tell from the photos that he’s having fun.

Little by little we’ll find fun things for this guy. If nothing else, he forces us to be more creative, and in the process, we’re all learning new things and having some fun together. Seems that enrichment is good for all of us.

12 thoughts on “The Bodhi Chronicles: Enrichment

  1. I’m surprised he doesn’t use his nose more. I thought that when you lose one sense, another one compensates. You’ve gone a long way to make him happy! Sweet pup!

    1. Bodhi’s hearing is extraordinary, and he is very attuned to anything that makes noise, so I think that’s the sense he focuses on. But we’re working on the nose too!

  2. Hurray for Bodhi! We need to get one of those feeders for our chow-hound! It would slow her down – she wolfs her food so fast.

  3. I used to use a Kong Wobbler for Ducky’s kibble (before her IBS diagnosis), but we switched her to can food on the vet’s recommendation. She eats that too fast at times as well, but the slow-feed bowl I found a few years ago makes it a bit harder now. And CatLax helps break up the food that gets caught.

    1. The Wobblers are great, and Paris, our lab of beloved memory, loved the thing. Bodhi has zero interest in it. Love the slow feed bowls too – excellent tools!

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