Working from home? Social distancing? While your dog is probably thrilled to have you around more than usual, there’s a good chance you’re going to start feeling a little stir crazy!
But never fear, we’ve got some great tips and ideas for entertaining your dog while we get through this tough time.
Walkies, drives and cuddles
It’s still ok to take your dog for their daily walk and visit your favourite dog park or outdoor space; the exercise and fresh air will do both of you good.
Likewise, if your dog is happy to be in the car, a drive is a good chance for you both to have a change of scene. Always ensure you are complying with social distancing guidelines.
A great way to help manage anxiety during these stressful times is to cuddle up to your animal companion. Grab some snacks, a cuppa, your favourite book or movie and curl up on the couch with your dog or cat.
We asked Tracey, owner and trainer at Calm My Paws Dog Training for some ideas on keeping your dog occupied at home
“When boredom occurs, then so does trouble,” says Tracey.
“Obedience is very important. Spend at least 10-15 minutes each day reinforcing commands such as sit, drop stay and most importantly, recall. This is best done before meal times.”
Tracey also reminds dog owners that food treats count as calories, so be mindful how much you are feeding your dog at mealtimes to take into account any treats they had earlier in the day.
“Exercise is vital, but working out their mind is just as important,” says Tracey “By making obedience rewarding and fun, you will ensure it is an activity your dog looks forward to and enjoys.”
Here are some of Tracey’s favourite activities to keep your dog busy
Muffin Tray Game
Grab an empty muffin tray and 12 tennis balls. Place treats or pieces of 4Legs into some but not all of the muffin tray’s cups and cover them with tennis balls. Show your dog the tray and see how long it takes for your dog to move the right balls to find the hidden food.
Change where you place the treats in the tray each time you play the game.
This can be used in the morning or at night time for feeds and will encourage your dog to work for their food. This is also really useful for dogs that like to eat fast and are a cheaper alternative to a Go Slow eating bowl.
Stuff a Kong with some 4Legs and place in the freezer. This will keep your dog occupied for a few hours and also encourages them to work for their food.
Hide and Seek
Boost the excitement and reward level of hide and seek by being the treasure your dog is tasked to find!
You’ll need to play this with at least two people. Person one gives the dog the sit-stay cue and distracts him while the person two hides. Then person one gives the release cue for the dog to start looking. This is great to play indoors or outdoors and is a fun way to spend an afternoon with your dog.
For this activity you need three different containers, each containing different toys. Label the containers Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Swap the containers around every couple of days. Changing toys around and providing variety helps avoid boredom, which in turn helps avoid trouble!
Visit Tracey on Facebook or head to the Calm My Paws Dog Training website