Mealtime for dogs is something that we underestimate and we inevitably make boring. When we don’t provide our dogs with enrichment, they find their own. This often looks like “bad behaviour” but it’s normal behaviour and is indicative of a bored or under-stimulated dog. 

Is this similar to your dog’s feeding schedule? 

Breakfast at 9:00am.

Scoop some kibble into a bowl.

Supper at 5:00pm.

Scoop some kibble into a bowl.

We should be making mealtime a big focus of their day!

Who says you HAVE to feed your dog at the exact same time every day, in the exact same way? No one.

Why do we use a bowl? Convenience. (B-O-R-I-N-G.)

Are there other ways we can use their food rations for training and enrichment throughout the day? Absolutely.

Is it better for their brain and behaviour? Definitely.

Will it prevent behaviour problems? It certainly helps! 

Check out how the Aukland Zoo enriches the meerkats’ mealtimes to keep their brains busy and to give them an opportunity each day to learn something new and to problem-solve the way they would naturally, in the wild: 

There are so many ways we can make mealtime more interesting for our dogs without sourcing rotting logs and digging and installing tunnels in our backyard. After all, the enrichment needs to be species-specific! 

Check out this video where a tiger is given a difficult puzzle to navigate during mealtime. You can see how there’s some interaction, some pacing and perhaps planning before re-engaging. 

Now for a collage of various animals and their specific enrichment. This one is SO fascinating! 

How can YOU enrich your dog’s environment and mealtime?