Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a lot of new restrictions in place in terms of social distancing and staying home to help flatten the curve. As a result of this, all pet owners and their furry loved ones have been affected. With most pet care businesses scaling back, your dogs’ routine may also be disrupted! Primarily if they are used to going on daily walks with their dog-walking friends, seeing new people, and smelling new smells! At this point, hopefully, we have all come to terms with our new situation and how to keep ourselves safe. With us all stuck at home, we need to find ways to entertain ourselves and our pets! Dogs still need to be stimulated to keep their curiosity up, which keeps their boredom low. A bored dog can lead to destructive attention-seeking behavior, which could lead to you having to replace an item or two!
If you aren’t sure about what you can do with your pup to pass the time, we got you covered with five things you can do with them during the COVID-19 lockdown!
1. Neighborhood and/or Trail Walks
Going for walks should already be a part of you and your dog’s routine, but since we are all at home, taking your dog for a couple of extra walks during the week would be a great way to pass the time! Walking your dog has many great benefits, such as controlling a healthy weight, maintaining proper bone, and cardiovascular health, and it keeps their noses busy by smelling all the scents in the neighborhood! If you’d like to explore new places with your pup, download the app called “AllTrails”! It’s a great resource to help you find beautiful walking trails near you. Allowing your dog to explore new environments will keep them stimulated and happy!
2. Teach Your Dog New (Or Old) Tricks!
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I beg to differ! With a busy lifestyle, it can be hard to squeeze in time with your dog to brush up on their current skills, or maybe even teach them new ones. During the COVID-19 lockdown, keep your dog occupied by refining what they already know. Once they’re comfortable with that, you can start to teach them something new and more complicated! Examples of new tricks can be: training them to put their toys back into a basket, or show them the name of their toys so they can retrieve them upon command. They will come out of lockdown with a fresh set of skills that are guaranteed to impress!
3. Puzzle Games
Much like humans, puzzles can really work the brain, and force us to problem solve and think critically! Giving your dog the same task will provide them with the same kind of stimulation. The most popular type of puzzle game would be a snuffle mat. These mats allow you to hide food or treats between the flaps and folds, and it encourages your dog to hone in on their natural foraging skills. They will spend time trying to dig through the mat to try and find the treats! Various treat dispensing toys can help curb boredom as well. They are designed to make your dog work for the contents inside by flipping it around and finding a way to dispense the food through different holes and compartments!
4. Search Games
Searching for treats around the house can be a great game to play with your dog during the COVID-19 lockdown! You can hide their favorite low-calorie treats in different places, such as the living room, your bedroom, or even in their play area! You can encourage them to sniff around and look for their treats, which will keep them interested and stimulated! This game could also mean searching for you too! If you haven’t played hide and seek with your dog, give it a try! If your dog knows the “stay” command, have them wait in a separate room while you go hide. Then, call out their name and watch them run around while they try to find you. Your dog will get a kick out of this!
5. Chew Toys
Chewing is something dogs love to do! A great way to bust away their boredom is to provide them with a Kong full of their favorite treat! Change the filling inside the Kong every once in a while, to give your dog a pleasant surprise. You can purchase a premade stuffing from the pet store, or you can make your stuffing by blending some fruits and yogurt for a yummy treat for your dog! Bully sticks and rawhide are also great options for both big and small dogs. They can be chewed on for hours, and they are also useful for maintaining your dog’s dental hygiene.
Times are tough right now, but as long as we continue to practice social distancing regulations, we can all weather the storm together! Those of us who are lucky enough to own pets can experience the joy and entertainment they bring us every day, which in turn is excellent for our mental health! While our lives have been turned upside-down by the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s a great time to give your pet the extra love and attention they deserve. If you are in need of help walking your dog during this time, contact us!