Like ourselves, our dogs are very much creatures of habit and routine - it's safe to say that the Corona Virus has thrown our lives, as well as our dogs lives up side down. We've all been adjusting to new routines these past few weeks. Working from home is great, I've done it for a long time now - I love working in my PJ's and being close to that biscuit jar (which is also a challenge)... But working from home comes with it's own challenges - how do you keep kids, animals and even yourself entertained during this period.
In this blog I will be focusing on our dogs! They are most likely finding the adjustment to this new routine as challenging as we are. You'll be spending much more time at home with your dog, but at the same time - especially if you live on your own - the dogs won't be getting the same amount of exercise as they are used to. In a busy household, they might find the added hustle and bustle a bit overwhelming in times. The good news is, there are things we can do to help our dogs adjust to lock-down life and make them feel relaxed, comfortable and entertained at the same time.
Here are my top tips:
1. Give your dog a safe space
This is a great way for your dog to retreat to a quiet space, if they feel the need to. This could be as simple as a blanket under a table, or if you have more space a bed or a crate in a spare room (bedroom, utility room or bathroom - whatever space you have). Perhaps even put a couple of their toys in their safe space. Most important part of the safe space - don't intrude! Teach your kids to respect your dogs safe space as well.
2. Teach them basic commands or new tricks
A dog is never to old to learn new tricks, all it needs is time, patience and a plan. You've got plenty of time now, so why not think of something to teach your dog, the options are limitless - From the basic sit, down, stay and come, to more advanced figure of 8 through your legs, roll over, play dead, etc...
Clicker training is great for this, I even do this with my horse! Find some inspiration online or speak to your dog trainer for tips and tricks.
3. Search games
Dogs are great in sniffing things out. Challenge them and make them 'work' for their food. You could use a snuffle mat or similar to feed them, or hide treats throughout the house and make them search for them. Ducking for carrots (or any food that they like and floats) is another fun way to keep your dog entertained. Just remember not to overfeed your dog while they are getting less exercise.
Chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs - things like a filled kong, deer antlers, frozen carrots and pigs or rabbit ears can keep them entertained for hours and it'll also help to maintain dental health.
Best to stay away from raw hide chews, sticks and cooked bones though as they can be dangerous.
5. Tidying up
If you have kids, they will love this one! Teach your dog to put their toys back in the box. Your kids might even learn from your dog and start putting their toys back where they belong as well. Win Win... What's not to like?
6. Make sure your dogs gets enough sleep
A grown up adult dog will sleep as much as 16 hours a day, most dogs will sleep while the kids are at school and we're out of the house working or running errands. Puppies will need even more sleep! Tip 1 on my list will help with this.
7. Play time
This can be indoor or outdoor if you have a garden. Play fetch, tug of war, or any other games your dog loves to play, but make sure you put down some ground rules and stick to them.
Unfortunately we are quite limited when it comes to walking the dogs at the moment. But if you can, change up the walks - take them along different routes, let them see and sniff new things; train you dog while walking as well, make sure they walk at heel, stop and sit if you ask them to. Take them for a run, with the added bonus of giving you more exercise as well! But remember to keep your dog on a lead and keep at least 2m distance from other people.
9. Pamper sessions
Does your dog enjoy a good pamper session? Why not give them a bath, a good groom and perhaps even a wee massage?! They'll need it this time of year with the change to their summer coats. If you're dog isn't keen on being groomed, now could be a great time to convince them that it is actually quite relaxing and fun.
10. Take photos of your dog
Keep snapping those photos of your dog as well! Unfortunately I can't get out and offer photo sessions at the moment, but that doesn't mean you can't do it yourself. I'm thinking of starting a weekly lock-down photography challenge and giving you some tips and tricks how to achieve them. Let me know if you'd like to know more.
Well, these are my top 10 tips to keep your dog entertained during lock-down. I hope you found this useful, if you have - please like, share, comment and invite all your friends to like my page!
Thank you for visiting my blog!
Lots of love and stay safe
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