Sensory environmental enrichment in dogs

John Binks, V. Tamara Montrose

Research output: Contribution to Lay press/specialist publicationArticle in lay press/specialist publication


Environmental enrichment involves the provision of stimuli to an animal’s environment in an attempt to improve its psychological and physiological welfare.

Sensory enrichment is a form of environmental enrichment where auditory, olfactory or visual stimuli are utilised. Sensory enrichment has applications in the management and housing of dogs. The use of auditory enrichment, such as classical music and audiobooks, is suggested to have positive behavioural effects in kennelled dogs by enhancing resting, and reducing vocalisations. However, use of heavy metal music should be avoided as it can increase barking and body-shaking, while pop music, psychoacoustically designed classical dog music and radio talk shows do not seem that effective at ameliorating dog stress.

In addition, the use of olfactory stimuli, such as lavender, coconut, vanilla, and ginger, have been found to reduce vocalisations and activity in dogs, suggestive of reduced stress. Visual enrichment, via use of televisions, decreased vocalisations and activity, but also seemed of relatively little interest to the dogs. In conclusion, auditory and olfactory enrichment seem to be effective, easily-applied and relatively inexpensive methods for enhancing dog welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Specialist publicationVeterinary Times
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Sensory environmental enrichment in dogs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this