Enrichment is a hot topic in the animal training and behavior fields. In the world of companion animals, there is now more awareness than ever of the need to provide enrichment, especially in shelters. But what exactly is it? The concept is pretty straightforward: learn what the animal’s needs are, and then structure an environment and routine that allows them to engage in species-typical behaviors in safe, healthy, and appropriate ways. The goal of enrichment should be an animal who is physically, emotionally, and behaviorally healthy.
Although enrichment is often discussed, it’s also an often misrepresented topic which leads many to think of it as superfluous or a luxury, or frequently thought of as only objects and activities. Additionally, it often succumbs to the pitfall of being thought of as something to “set and forget” without thought or observation of the actual outcome. These stunted views can make our jobs as behavior professionals and the lives of our clients harder.
Enrichment was designed to be an animal welfare framework through which we measure an animal’s physical, emotional, and behavioral health. By going back to the basics of enrichment, learning what it is, and how to implement it, we can better serve our clients and their pets by approaching behavior change through the lens of enrichment.
This presentation will introduce the key components of an enrichment-based approach to the behavior professions, including:
– The history of enrichment
– The anatomy of the enrichment framework
– How to design a sustainable behavior change plan with clients in mind
– How meeting all of an animal’s needs makes our job and our client’s lives better
– Processes and resources that can make the journey easier for both practitioners and clients
– The importance of establishing goals, measuring progress, and assessing outcomes
– And a case study demonstrating the enrichment framework in action
Through this presentation, you will learn how to use the concept of enrichment to better serve your clients and their pets.