Whether you’re the proud new companion of a young pup, or you share life with a can’t-teach-me-new-tricks pooch, chances are you’re looking for ways to keep your dog entertained during Lockdown 2.0. Though we’re allowed unlimited helpings of outdoor activity this time around – collective hurrah from both dogs and humans – check out some of the other things you can do to make sure your lockdown dog is a contented one.
This time has called for us to call on our creative side in all aspects of our lives, and how we conduct playtime for our dogs is no exception. There are plenty of household items that can be modified and recycled into fun toys for dogs: plait some old pieces of fabric for a tug-of-war duel, fill a muffin tin with tennis balls, or pop a biscuit inside a plastic bottle for playtime with a puzzling edge. Any bog roll hounds out there? Those finding themselves with a surplus of inner tube cardboard… you can’t go wrong with a canine castanet – fill with dog treats and fold over the ends so pooch can retrieve the treats inside! Basically, the list of DIY dog toys is endless!
Especially if you’ve recently welcomed a dog into your life, now is the perfect time to focus on training – watch videos, read tutorials, ask for the advice of other dog owners – even hire a virtual trainer! You’re unlikely to ever have this stretch at home again, so getting your dog used to commands and instilling good behaviour will be easier now than in normal times, when you’ll likely be forced to spend more time away from your dog. New pups will benefit from being taught the basics, but it’s never too late to train an older dog – make it your mission to crack that figure of 8 – the perfect pooch party trick.
Making friends, lockdown style
Walkies with your dog are always a given, but things can get slightly more complicated during lockdown. With restrictions in place and physical distance between humans, it’s difficult for dogs to approach each other for those inquisitive sniffs/playfights that lead to well-adjusted and at ease furry friends (remember, there are no canine Zoom meets… Lucky them). Many dog owners (including some WagIt team members!) report that their dogs have become more nervous around other dogs of late. If you’re heading to a park and it’s safe to do so, remember meet-and-greets between like-minded paws are beneficial: try using a long lead so pooch has the freedom to explore, but can easily be called back if needed.
Just like for us humans, feeding time can become samey – scatter feeding is a great way to engage and mentally stimulate your dog, instead of hoovering up their food in seconds. The slower eating time can also reduce bloating, and those oh-so-lovely dog parps. Make dog meals into a treasurer hunt by hiding dry food around your home, and having pooch sniff it out!
And finally… enjoy it!
Lastly and most importantly, remember that getting to spend this much time at home with your dog isn’t normal service. Try to remember that even though it might take a little more effort caring for a dog in lockdown, a happy dog leads to a happy human! And if it all gets too much, there’s always dog TV (the canine equivalent of bunging a screen in front of a child to keep them occupied!)
Sending all our Waggers lots of good luck for keeping your dogs entertained during lockdown! Remember, lots of our lovely groomers are still open during this time, ready to tend to your dog after a muddy autumn walk. You can browse and book them here.