Life has certainly changed and we’re all adapting to a new normal, including our pets! It’s still important for both their physical and mental well-being to regularly exercise your dogs. Not to mention that it’s important for yours as well! We’ve put together some ideas for you to try at home.
(Photo by PetMD)
- Different dogs require more exercise than others, so set a daily goal of exercise based on what your pup needs.
- Based on your goals, make time to take your dog outside to play several times a day. For lower energy dogs, even just a few minutes each time of fetch, tug, chase or walking will provide your pup with the opportunity to burn off some energy. For more energetic dogs, extend the time to at least 15 to 30 minutes.
- If you live in an area where you can safely walk your dog with sufficient space between people, it’s a good opportunity for both of you to get out and get some fresh air. It’s also a great way to safely catch up with neighbors – at a bit of a distance!
Just as important as physical activity, keep them enriched indoors with puzzle toys, treat dispensers, or creating a game of your own! You can start with a toy that’s appropriate for your dog’s skill level and then work your way up as they get better so they don’t become frustrated.
- Try building an indoor obstacle or agility course using everyday items and furniture.
- Play hide-and-seek with your pup.
- Try the Cupcake Puzzle: Use an empty cupcake baking tray and fill each hole with a tennis ball. Place a treat or dry food under one of the tennis balls and see how long it takes your pup to move the right ball and find the prize. Change the location of the treats each time.
- Put your dog’s nose to the test with scent hunt games. The first few rounds, toss a treat and tell him to “go find it”. When he gets the hang of it, start hiding treats in other rooms in ground level locations such as shelves, boxes, or chairs and see how long it takes him to find the treats!
Try some basic obedience training or refresh existing skills. This will not only strengthen your bond and communication skills, but you’ll also have fun showing off what you’ve taught.
- Use positive reinforcement, such as praise, attention and treats.
- If your dog has the basics down, try new tricks like high-five, spin, shake and roll over.
- Keep sessions 10-15 minutes long.
- Regular grooming: brushing, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, and nail trimming are all important activities to keep your pet feeling and looking their best! It’s also a good bonding experience between the two of you. Or assign the task to your children…it’s a great way to teach them responsibility.
- Remember that while we’re stocking up on human food and supplies, we should also be keeping up with our pet’s supplies such as food, cleaning supplies, flea, tick & heartworm preventatives, medications, etc.
- Fun fact: simply cuddling with your pet can raise dopamine levels not only in yourself, but your pet as well! This helps reduce stress, anxiety & confusion.
We can’t wait until we’re up and running again and see all of our friends back at PPI, but in the meantime, we hope you have some fun at home.