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The Scoop

Unleashing Enrichment: Elevate Your Dog Training Game with West Paw's Interactive Toys!

so much to train... so little time

Do you find it challenging to dedicate time to train your dog? Waiting for a chunk of free time, then repeatedly postponing training sessions? Picture this: you wake up determined, but your dog's sudden lunging and barking at others derail your plans, leaving you craving solace on the couch, binge-watching Bravo to unwind.

I understand the struggle. After a long day, the last thing you want is training, especially during the "before" or navigating challenging phases with your dog. But what if I told you there's a way to integrate training into your routine that's manageable and enjoyable for both you and your furry companion?

A well-rounded training strategy must include enrichment, addressing your dog's needs. Enrichment comes in various forms like sniffing, chewing, shredding, and licking. West Paw toys offer a convenient and dishwasher-safe solution to meet these needs effectively.

Enrichment Toys

meeting your dogs emotional needs

Before delving into how to use West Paw enrichment toys, let's discuss why enrichment plays a pivotal role in managing anxiety, reactivity, and other undesirable behaviors. At the core of a dog's anxiety or reactivity lies emotional dysregulation. Reactivity, often showcased through barking or lunging, stems from an “over the top” response to stimuli. Enrichment not only fulfills a dog's needs but also helps them regulate their emotions.

It's a multifaceted approach. By meeting a dog's needs through exercise, mental stimulation, and enrichment, the likelihood of engaging in undesirable behaviors diminishes. For instance, offering appropriate outlets for activities like chewing with toys such as the Qwizl decreases the chances Fluffy will chew your favorite slippers. Additionally, providing enrichment during or after stressful events aids in emotional regulation, such as toys like the Toppl, Tux, or Tizzi to offer stress relief and establish positive associations.

Lauren’s Top training Tips

Now, let me share my top enrichment hacks, perfect for sneaking in extra training or complementing your existing plan.

Before Training or Walks...

  • Use a Toppl to feed their meal, ensuring they aren't starving during training.
  • Engage in play to release excess energy before focused activities, such as tug with the Bumi or fetch with the Zisc.

During Training...

  • Leave out toys and alternative reinforcers so dog’s can signal breaks or we can offer different rewards.
  • Employ interactive puzzle toys like the Rumbl or a combo of small and large Toppls.

After Training...

  • Encourage calming activities like licking or chewing, promoting relaxation.
  • Use toys like the Qwizl or Funnl for chewers and Tux or Tizzi for licking preferences. West Paw's no-mess nut butters make filling these toys a breeze.


You are crate training

Small Toppl, Tizzi, or Tux so you can prep mini snacks for multiple sessions throughout day!

Your dog is chewing all your slippers, socks, furniture, etc.

Qwizl or Funnl are excellent chew outlets, but some dogs also enjoy chewing on the Bumi and Zwig toys. Chewing items they should not let’s us know there is an unmet need.

Your dog is bored and is due for walk/training, but you are stuck on another work call

Small and large Toppl put together, Rumbl, and if you give any fillables (e.g. Toppl or Tux) then hide in trash enrichment or around apartment for extra mental stimulation. You can add tape for enhanced challenge.

You are loose leash training

Bumi, Zisc, Zwig, or Skamp toys with the goal of burning some energy before the walk so they can be in learning mode.

You just got back from a walk

Qwizl or Funnl to help them destress and wind down especially if they are anxious/reactive.

You do not have time to train

Play sounds you are desensitizing on a bluetooth speaker while they enjoy any of their West Paw toys. If they notice the noise, the volume is too high!

Your dog is recovering from a stressful event (e.g. vet visit, fireworks, visitors)

Filled Toppl, Tizzi, Tux, or Qwizl with a bully stick or collagen stick in it.

West Paw's enrichment toys and treats cater to various dog needs, and their dishwasher-safe feature is a lifesaver for busy dog parents and trainers. Mix and match these tips and remember, every dog is unique—find what works best for you and your pup!

Lauren Sisak, CPDT-KA, is a certified professional dog trainer and the founder of Sit. Stay. Stella.