With more and more countries and cities going in to lockdown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, with the stricter ones even discouraging dog walks, keeping your pet entertained and preventing destructive behavior due to restlessness is getting ever more important. Here are 5 things you can try that would be fun for both you and your pet.
- DIY scavenger hunt – Hide treats around your home or in your garden (as long as it’s secure!). It’s a great enrichment activity for your dog and will keep them busy. It will be fun as well if you encouraged him along with tips along the way.
- The Name Game – You can teach him/her someone’s name by playing a game of hide and seek. OR you can teach him/her a word like ‘toy’ or ‘ball’ by hiding it and making him/her find the object. Both of these games will eventually teach your dog to find the person or object using his sense of smell thus engaging him mentally. Engaging your dog’s sense of smell is a fun way to keep him busy since he’s not getting to go out and do all the sniffing he is used to.
- DIY Toys – Make some new toys using simple techniques – like braid a few pieces of cloth together to make a rope toy out of it. Take an old t-shirt and tie it up with multiple knots into a kind of ball. You can put some pebbles in a plastic box or recycled plastic bottle to make it a rattle toy, or tie up a plastic bottle inside a sock so it’s a noisy, yet soft, toy. While using a plastic bottle make sure you remove the cap, the plastic ring as well as the label and only use the plain transparent bottle. This way you have a wide variety of toys so your dog doesn’t get bored. One useful tip for keeping out dog toys – only keep available 4 or 5 toys for him to play with and keep changing these daily so he doesn’t get bored.
- Teach your dog some new tricks – Does he already know the important commands like “sit”, “stay”, “come”? Now is the time to put in some hours of reward-based training. You can also teach him more advanced tricks like “paw” or “play dead”.
- Make An Obstacle Course – Since you’re under house arrest and outdoor activity is so limited, make a fun obstacle course for your dog. Put up some low jumps using sticks/umbrellas or a pouffe. Make a tunnel using your coffee table or with a couple of low stools joined together. You can even line up your dining table chairs and make your pet weave through them too. This way you now have one course with jumps, weaves and tunnels. First take your dog through each part individually and then you can make him/her run through the entire course at once.