How to Build a Dog Enrichment Pen
When you're working out of a temporary emergency shelter, it’s important to find ways to provide enrichment for the canines in your care. The ASPCA’s National Field Response team uses a racetrack enrichment pen—a simple but brilliant way to encourage dogs to run around and explore a secured area.
What You’ll Need
- Fifteen 5-foot-wide by 6-foot-tall fence panels (one panel must have a gate)
- Brackets that come with the panels
- Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) or cardboard
- Dog-safe scents (optional)
- Newspapers (optional)
- Racetrack builder
- Racetrack supervisor
- Connect 5 of the fence panels together with accompanying brackets to form a circle for the inside track.
- Create visual barriers around the inside track using fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) or cardboard. This encourages dogs to keep moving in a circle to see what’s on the other side of the barrier. (See photo.)
- Connect 10 panels approximately 5 feet out from the inside track, making sure to space panels an equal distance from the inside track, in a circle shape. One of the panels should be a gate for entering and exiting the racetrack.
- Optional: Soak newspapers in dog-safe scents and place them at different levels around the inside track to encourage dogs to move around.
Note: The exercise pen can be customized depending on available types and sizes of panels and materials for visual barriers. It can also be increased or decreased in size as needed to fit operational needs.
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