17th February 2021
Lockdowns over the last 12 months have been really tough testing times for us all as we get used to limiting where, when, and why we can go outside. That is echoed for our pets too – the time they get to spend outside is more limited, as are the places that we can go, and for us it can be really difficult when balancing working from home, home schooling and everything else that comes with lockdown.
Every day your dog should be getting around half an hour to two hours exercise, depending on their size/breed, ideally split into several shorter blocks over the day.
Here are a few tips from us to help entertain your dog during lockdown, including some simple things that you might not have thought about:
Indoor search games – Most dogs love treats, and have pretty powerful noses too! So a good way to keep them entertained and give you a few moments to yourself is to create a simple search with their favourite nibbles around the house. Put them in accessible, safe places - but don’t forget where you’ve put them! Some great ideas are hiding in toys, under plastic cups, in boxes and behind doors.
DIY dog agility course – Think a home lockdown version of Crufts – kind of...! Try rolled up blankets to jump over, chairs to weave around, footstools to jump and wait on, tennis ball in a cardboard box – be creative with what you have and you and your dog will have heaps of fun, you can even time them to see if they can get faster too!
Don’t forget the classics – Fetch, catch and tug are timeless activities for your dog because they’re so simple and so loved by so many dogs, and they can be played indoors or out. Grab a tennis ball or a durable toy. Perhaps not easy if you’re trying to balance other activities at the same time, but if you’ve got some free time and can spend it with your dog, you can’t go wrong.
Brain games can be as tiring as physical exercise, so don’t dismiss mental activity as a way to entertain and exercise your dog.
Teach them something new – the mental stimulation of training is a great way to keep your dog entertained, and is something both you and your dog can enjoy together. You’ll need patience, positivity and a handful of treats, so why not give it a go and see if over lockdown you can train your dog to ‘roll over’, ‘shake a paw’, ‘play dead’, ‘speak(!)’, ‘spin’, or to give you a kiss!
Grooming – Use a soft, firm brush or massager to gently go over your dog's fur, helping enjoy some time together, watching them chill out and relax, and helping remove any loose hair all at the same time.
Puppy pampering – We all love a bit of pampering, and so do many of our dogs too. Whether softly stroking in some dry shampoo, massaging some balm into their paws, or applying some nose balm for them, you and your dog will love the closeness.
Cosy cuddles – There’s never a bad time to enjoy some cuddle time with your favourite four-legged friend, and they’ll love it too. Take the opportunity to give yourself some down time and hunker down with your beautiful dog.
Don’t forget you!
Remember to look after yourself as well – not only is it vitally important for you and your wellbeing, your dog will enjoy having a happier you too.