DOYLESTOWN, PA, August 10, 2023—Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center proudly unveils a unique sensory garden created especially for dogs. The sensory garden features a variety of pet-safe plants, scents, textures, and agility-inspired obstacles designed to provide enrichment, discovery, and adventure in a secure area. Stimulating a dog’s robust senses offers advantageous mental engagement and physical exercise. Better understanding the world around them coupled with positive experiences in the garden can help boost a dog’s confidence and reduce anxiety.
“Sensory gardens have been used successfully to help reduce fears and anxiety in dogs, but a sensory garden can be beneficial for any dog—with no limit to breed, size, age, or temperament. The garden is also perfect for socializing puppies to new experiences,” said Lindsay Smith, co-activities coordinator with Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center.
Lily, a one-year-old German Shepard mix, is an example of the impact the sensory garden can have on a dog. Lily’s pet parent, Sarah, adopted her almost one year ago from a rescue. Sarah explained that Lily is an extremely timid dog, and only a few people and pets have been a part of her circle. However, Lily’s experience with the daycare explorer program at Holiday House Pet Resort has expanded her world, and Sarah enjoys seeing the photos of Lily playing with the other dogs and comfortably investigating items in the sensory garden.
“Lily started with our daycare program in November 2022 as a nervous, cautious dog. She kept her distance from staff and didn’t interact with the dogs except for her sister Daisy. As part of the explorer program, Lily was one of the first dogs to visit the new sensory garden, and her outlook changed quickly. Lily is visibly less anxious and more open to discovery and new experiences. Sniffing the plants is her favorite thing about the garden,” said Lindsay. Sarah revealed that Lily loves being in the garden at home too.
Lindsay spearheaded the concept and created the plans for the sensory garden, working closely with daycare manager Rowena Riley and her co-activity coordinator Jessica Covon to carefully research and select the items. The garden was established in one of several outdoor play yards on the resort’s 50-acre Doylestown Township property.
Many of the features, including the custom scent wall, were built by facilities supervisor Adam Comisak. The scent wall features pet-safe essential oils—like birch, chamomile, and anise—freshly-picked garden items, and gourmet treats. Current features in the sensory garden include flower and herb plants, a multi-textured walkway, a dig pit with balls, and a bridge and tunnel obstacle—with plans to continue growing the sensory garden.
What are enrichment activities?
Canine enrichment activities are the center of the resort’s daycare explorer program. The extra-enriching activities stimulate a dog’s mind, body, and soul for a fulfilling experience. Games that focus on tasks—often associated with breeds like herding, agility, food puzzles, or nose work—give dogs a sense of accomplishment. The sensory garden provides the program with a dedicated space for multiple activities with plans for incorporating seasonal features.
Currently, the sensory garden is only available to dogs enrolled in the daycare explorer program under the supervision of a member of the daycare staff. For more information, call the resort at 215-345-6960.
ABOUT HOLIDAY HOUSE PET RESORT & TRAINING CENTER and
DOYLESTOWN VETERINARY HOSPITAL & HOLISTIC PET CARE
Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center offers overnight lodging for dogs and cats with activity packages, daycare, professional training programs, and grooming services. The facility is owned by Drs. Laura and Randy Weis, who also operate the Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care, a full-service veterinary hospital located on the same property. For more information about Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center, visit www.holidayhousepetresort.com or call 215-345-6960.