In these unprecedented circumstances, with many of us staying home following the latest government advice on isolation, remote working and social distancing. Being stuck in isolation at home can be hard for any of us, but even harder for a dog who’s used to long walks and might suffer from a sudden lack of exercise.
Experts at Canagan have made a list of ways you can keep your dog mentally stimulated and relieve boredom – for both of you! – while you’re stuck indoor…
Tricks and indoor games
A productive way to entertain your dog is to teach them new tricks. Train them to bark on command, shake hands, play fetch or roll over – the list is endless! There’s no better time to test their intelligence with a few new skills.
Play with toys
There are plenty of indoor activities for dogs which involve toys to keep them entertained for hours. Dog puzzles will allow your dog to figure out where a tasty treat is hidden by manoeuvring different levers which will reveal the delicacy. This game teaches your dog resilience and patience. Use it as a form of ‘positive reinforcement’ to teach them that good behaviour is rewarded.
A good old-fashioned game of fetch with a soft ball or toy is a great way to entertain a dog with boundless energy. If you’re lucky enough to have a long corridor or a spacious living room, and valuables are safely stowed away, indoor fetch can make for a fun, energetic afternoon.
It’s popular among children, but hide-and-seek can be enjoyed by the whole family – including your dog! If your companion is trained to ‘stay’ and ‘come’ when you call them, it’s a great game to keep them entertained.
Tell your dog to ‘stay’ so they don’t follow you to your hiding place. If this command is a work in progress, wait until they’re distracted then have your family members hide around the house. Choose somewhere that is not out of sight initially, so they can easily find you, then choose harder spots. This will boost their confidence and stretch their instincts with each ‘round’. Take it in turns to call them. Each family member, when found, must congratulate your furry friend and show them lots of love. Dogs experience the same thrills as children, so love being surprised and receiving attention.
Hide-and-seek works because dogs have a ‘pack’ mentality, so will seek out their human leader. Your pet will rely on visual and voice cues initially. The game stimulates the brain, as it encourages them to remember their name, while strengthening recall behaviour. They’ll soon reverse their strategy and go back to their primal instinct – scent. Not to mention the physical benefits – the search will give your pup a great workout physically. It’s also a wonderful way to strengthen your bond.
Bubbles are a fun, inexpensive way to entertain your pup – and children too! Always check the label before you buy bubbles to ensure they’re safe for dogs. Did you know you can even buy ‘dog bubbles’ in different flavours? There are even dog-friendly bubble machines for when you want to leave them to it.
Make changes to your home
Ensuring your home is dog-friendly is important when creating an environment for play and exercise with minimal chance of harm or breakages. From here, you can introduce a couple of new sights and experiences to combat boredom, like the following:
Give them a view
Dogs have impeccable senses and love exploring the outside world with its diverse sights and smells. Create a snuggly space by the window so your pup can watch the world go by. Whether it’s birds flying by or cars passing, they can keep entertained with activity outside.
Build a doggy den
Dogs love to snuggle down in a cosy space. Whether it’s blankets piled with their favourite toys or renovating your spare bedroom into their very own pet pad, your dog will be very grateful of their own little sanctuary to retreat to.
Make good use of the garden
If you are fortunate enough to have a lovely garden, make the most of this private space with your dog. A little run-around and game of fetch makes for a fun afternoon and gets your steps up, too. A spot of fresh air, away from the public, will do you both the world of good.
Ensuring your dog is comfortable, entertained and of course safe at this time may be worrying you. But it’s also an opportunity to enjoy new activities and bond with your companion. They’re untouched by the turbulent times we’re currently experiencing, will show you lots of love and relish the extra quality time. So, rest assured that they’ll entertain you too.