22nd January 2024

Passive Enrichment


It will come as no surprise to all dog owners that our furry friends have a very keen sense of smell, in fact they have a secondary organ to better pick up scents! A small number of studies have tested common aromatherapy oils and their effects on dog behaviour. Lavender, camomile, ginger and coconut all create a soothing environment for dogs and increase rest and relaxation. Choose carefully though, as peppermint and rosemary resulted in an increase in barking and standing, showing that these compounds do nothing for relaxation!

Pheromones are commonly recommended in companion animal behavioural science. Adaptil® has been designed to mimic the chemical signals released by a mother dog during lactation. This provides feelings of comfort and security during stressful or challenging situations. This doesn’t replace medication, where medication is required, but rather gives a little boost of resilience.


There have been many studies that show the benefits of music in human and animal mental health. Music has been shown to induce relaxation in chickens and elephants, and reduce heart rates and blood pressure in humans.

For dogs, many genres of music have been tested and classical, soft rock and reggae have all been shown to be relaxing. The key is to regularly change up the genre you leave playing for your pup so they don’t get too used to it and the effect wears off. It pays to be careful on your choice of playlist though, heavy metal increases barking and reduces rest, something we definitely want to avoid.

Dogs also find audiobooks relaxing to listen to. It may be that they simulate human companionship, something our canine friends thrive off.