Paws up if you have a canine fur-baby at home! Likely, it’s at least half of you according to several recent national surveys. While our pups are living their best lives with their favorite people right now, it may have become an unexpected challenge to take care of your dog during quarantine. Working from home and/or managing a household during quarantine has altered our dog’s way of life as much as it has our own. Here are some things to consider as we continue our current way of life:
It’s critical to maintain a routine for your dog during quarantine. Try to wake, feed, and exercise your pup at the same time you normally would. Remember that dogs, like us, thrive from a structured day. If you have conference calls, a well-timed walk will help your pup rest during your important meetings.
Stimulation is Not Always Physical
Daily walks and play sessions are status quo for any dog owner. Dogs prosper in an environment in which they can burn off energy built from their high metabolism and frequent naps. One often overlooked but equally stimulating activity is mental activation. Filling a Kong with your pup’s favorite treat such as peanut butter will occupy your dog’s mind and give him a challenge. Freezing it will help that challenge last even longer! In our household and at Camp Bow Wow, we use and sell Lickimats, which work much the same way. Be sure to find a product of the appropriate size for your dog and ensure they are within eye-view in case they are what we lovingly call the “toy destroyers”. Additionally, treat puzzles with increasingly difficult challenges are loads of fun for humans and dogs alike. Find what food motivates your pup (a little kibble works too) and hide it within the puzzle. Let Fido flex his brain muscle to figure out how to get to the prize.
Give Space To Your Dog During Quarantine
Remember back to the time when you went to an office and the kids were at school? Your dog did an awful lot of resting when you weren’t home. Providing one comfy, quiet space that’s near you and one away from you (and possibly any children from whom pup might need a break) is a great way to achieve this. A dedicated spot allows them the solitude and peace they’ll need to refresh, recharge, and be ready to star in your next Zoom conference call!
Don’t Let Training Go By the Wayside
If your dog knows sit, stay, place, heal, and other commands, now is not the time to let them slip. We often find ourselves using our commands when we are out and about in public to show proper manners and socialization. Since that’s not our current reality, take the time to have your dog sit and wait at the front or garage door. Try having them wait calmly before their dinner bowl is placed down. Direct them to stay on their bed or in their place during your meetings and human meal time. Find opportunities to encourage proper leash behavior like not tugging or pulling and staying next to you rather than in front.
Times Are Ruff
But that doesn’t mean your work, family, or canine needs to suffer. Try a few of these suggestions and let us know how it goes! And for those of you with cats… good luck!