Updated: Dec 26, 2020
Many of our fur babies have experienced a drastic disruption from their regular routine. It's possible that your dog is now overwhelmed with your company and does not know what to do with themselves. Or it is equally possible that your dog is waiting up long hours for you to finally get home from work. Which ever the case, a disruption in their play schedule has become relevant. I wanted to suggest some tips to keep your dog busy during these strange and uncertain times. Not to mention I have provided you with a training game for you to practice with your dog.
Nothing is more frustrating than your dog coming to constantly greet you while you're busy working on a project. It's natural for us to separate ourselves from our pup resume focus. Although this is a common reaction, it's not the best response. This may cause your to raise havoc. Some things to do with your dog if you're working from home:
Keep your dogs mind busy with a treat puzzle. One of my favorite busy toys to have is a stock of KONG filler stored in the freezer. Seriously! Pack the KONG full of your dogs favorite treats cover it in peanut butter and freeze it. This will allow your dog to stay busy on a healthy snack.
Play the classic shell game. Have your pup watch as you place their mouth drooling treat under one of three cups. Then shuffle the cups, and ask your dog where their cookie is;
I always tell my clients, it's important to constantly build your communication and connection with your dog. Take ten to fifteen minutes a day to have a training session. Teach your dog the basics, or more advanced things like "clean up" or even some basic chores;
If you have a backyard, and a pup who loves to play with balls I would recommend the Jolly Egg. This toy is a large ball in the shape of the egg, it is nearly impossible for your dog to pick up. This frustrating mission can keep some dogs busy for hours;
If you don't free feed your dog, then take advantage of their love for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Allow them to eat out of a fun feeder. These are special designed feeding bowls, that will not only stop your dog from gobbling their food down but it will allow them to keep their mind stimulated. The Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Bowl is my absolute favorite line of bowls. Note: This bowl is also good for dogs who gulp their water, and then throw it up five minutes later;
Master the Art of Doggie Massage. A nice massage can help soothe and relax nearly any dog. Using the tips of your fingers make firm circular motions along your dog's body. The circumference of your circle should be proportional to your dogs body size. Keep in mind not all dogs are comfortable with being massaged, so be aware of your dog's reaction to this.
No matter the circumstances it is important that you put in the hours of exercise with your dog. Whether that be a walk around the park, a training session, or fetch in a field behind the house.
TRAINING TIP: Play hide-and-seek with some treats. This will be simple to teach to those pups who LOVE balls, treats, or both.
Start out by playing a game of sniff and search. Grab a cupcake pan, hide some treats in some of the cups and then cover each cup up with a ball. Your dog will sniff, remove the ball and eat their reward;
Once sniff and search is mastered you can begin hiding treats in a room of your choosing. Have your dog sit and watch you while you hide the treats the first few times within the room. Be sure they sit in that same spot, and get up when you add the command to the game. You can use "search" or "Okay, Find";
When you think your dog recognized the objective of the game, it's time to start hiding the treats in other rooms. Have your dog sit in a certain spot, and wait while you go and hide some cookies around the house. Once you have counted the amount of treats you hid, have your dog go on a treat hunt.
As creatures of habit we are also counting down the days for things to get back to normal, whatever that means. When this eventually happens, you'll be able to use the tips I suggest above within your dog's original schedule. We can all agree that socializing our dogs at the dog park on a frequent schedule will be a relief in the future to come.