The global situation with COVID19 is keeping us inside these days, we are told the best way to slow down the spread of the virus is to self isolate. While in isolation we can, and have to, still take our dogs for short walks, to give them a bit of exercise and let them go to the bathroom. We should remember to up the hygiene game after every walk, like we talked about here. But what should we do to keep them entertained inside? They will already be super happy that you are spending more time with them while being at home more than they are probably used to. But they still need entertainment as much as we do, so here are some ideas on how to have fun together.
Teach your dog a new trick
Training your dog is a good way of making a stronger bond with them. Watch a couple training videos, grab some treats and begin. If you have a young dog and you need to start with basics, there’s already a lot of things for you to teach them. Start with getting them to sit, shake, and wait, teach them how to be on a leash and walk without pulling. All of these will be crucial for your life together and they will make your life easier. If you have an older dog, don’t despair, old dogs can learn new tricks. The first thing to think about is what motivates your dog, are they food driven or praise driven. Find what works best for both of you and use it as a reward for a trick well done. While isolated you can use the time to learn so much, having access to so many online sources. Use your time wisely and train your dog to do some cool new things which you can show off after all of this passes.
There are so many games you could play with your dog, depending on what they respond to the best. Toys are always a good option, you could play tug of war with your dog. It will help them to release extra energy they might have, and helping you get some exercise as well. Hide treats around your house and let your dog find them. You can place treats under plastic glasses, behind furniture, or on top of boxes, be creative and let your dog have fun exploring. Games will give your dog mental stimulation and they will help get some energy out. It will prevent boredom and unwanted chewing or other behavior that some dogs develop.
Teach your dogs the names of their toys
As we all know, dogs are super smart and can be taught many things, you just need to be persistent and reward them every time they succeed. Teaching you dogs names of different things can be useful and fun for both of you. Start by playing with one toy and giving it a name. After some time and repetition, praise and treats, your dog will start reacting to the assigned name. You can then test what they learned and be super proud of yourself and your dog. Start adding more toys into the mix. Even teach them names of some household things for this next thing you can do while stuck inside with your furry friend.
Teach your dog to do chores
Like we said before, if you start teaching your dog the names of different things around your house, and they already know how to fetch, or you can teach them that as well, you can give your dog some jobs to do. Try to get them to learn to bring you your slippers, or the newspaper. There are videos of dogs bringing their owners a beer or a water from the fridge, why not make that your next challenge? Your dog will love having a job to do, they enjoy the structure, and you will feel accomplished when you succeed. You have nothing to lose, except maybe a couple of beers on the way while learning, and you have plenty of time to do it.
Exercise with your dog
The times are stressful, being stuck inside while also worrying about the situation is not the best combination. One thing that will help you release stress is exercise. Clear up some space in your home, get a mat or a blanket and put on some music. Not sure if this is the case with every dog, but most of them will want to participate. They will come and lay down on your mat or try getting your attention in some other way. Why not exercise together? While stretching, try reaching for your dog and giving them a pet. If your dog is small you can use him as a weight while exercising your arms or legs. If you’re doing yoga your dog can be a calming presence at that time, so include him in your thoughts and in your exercises. There’s even a thing called DOGA that combines yoga and dogs. Be creative, your dog will love being included, and it will definitely help you lower your stress levels.
In a situation that we are all facing globally we have to be careful, we have to be mindful and we have to be caring and compassionate. You will be spending a lot more time at home than you normally would, and our dogs will love having you there. But your presence is not enough, both you and your dogs need some kind of entertainment, some kind of mental stimulation. So the best way to stay calm and composed is to work and play with your dogs. There are many ways that you can do that, just be creative, put some ideas on a paper and start. There is no better time than now to give your dogs the love and attention they deserve for being your best friends. Stay safe, calm and and healthy and be a good pack leader for your dogs.