A lot of Dog Parks have a sensory area or “garden” but what exactly does that mean and why is it beneficial for your dog ?
Dogs enjoy sensory areas because they are naturally curious and highly sensory-driven animals. Their keen senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste play a significant role in how they experience and navigate the world around them.
Here are some reasons why dogs enjoy sensory areas:
Natural Instincts: Dogs have evolved as predators and scavengers, relying on their senses to find food, detect potential dangers, and communicate with other animals. Exploring different scents, textures, and environments is a fundamental part of their nature.
Stimulation and Enrichment: Sensory areas provide dogs with mental and physical stimulation. Engaging their senses keeps their minds active and helps prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors.
Exercise and Activity: Many sensory areas incorporate elements that encourage physical activity, such as agility equipment, textured pathways, and water features. Dogs enjoy physical play and exercise, and these areas allow them to do so.
Social Interaction: Sensory areas are often frequented by other dogs and their owners, providing opportunities for socialization and interaction. Dogs are social animals, and they enjoy being around other dogs and people.
Relaxation and Calmness: Some sensory elements, like soothing sounds and comfortable seating areas, can create a calming environment. Dogs may find these areas relaxing, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Bonding with Owners: Exploring a sensory garden or area with their owners can strengthen the bond between dogs and their human companions. Dogs often look to their owners for guidance and reassurance when encountering new stimuli.
Scent Exploration: Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, and they are naturally drawn to different scents. Sensory areas with various plant aromas or scent stations allow dogs to indulge in their olfactory senses.
Variety and Novelty: Dogs thrive on novelty and new experiences. Sensory gardens are designed to offer a variety of stimuli and ever-changing environments, making them intriguing and enjoyable for dogs.
Sensory Seeking: Some dogs have a strong drive to seek out sensory experiences. These dogs may actively seek out different textures, smells, or sights to satisfy their sensory cravings.
Play and Fun: Dogs have a playful nature, and sensory areas often provide opportunities for play, whether it’s chasing through tunnels, splashing in water features, or interacting with toys and equipment.
Bear in mind that a visit to a new field is in itself an enrichment experience for your dog and natural features in the space will give stimuli and interest for your dog.
Dogs love nothing more than having a good sniff about so let them explore their new fascinating environment . Dont forget that they will enjoy interacting with you too so encourage them to go through tunnels and climb structures as part of the visit .
Guide to Creating Your Own Sensory Garden
The volunteers at Bettersea Dog Home know all about the need for sensory areas and share their advice here