It’s highly likely it’s going to happen sometime soon. We’re going to be asked to isolate ourselves, either as a precaution, or because we’re not feeling well. We’re sort of okay – we have the telly, books or hobbies. What about the other members of our family – our dogs?
The majority of dogs adore going out every day – they love to expend their energy, have new smells to sniff and even to meet other doggy (and the odd human) friends.
What can you do if you can’t the dogs out?
It won’t hurt dogs not to go out every day. What does cause problems is when they feel bored or have no stimulation – this is when they could become destructive or just nag forever to go out!
It’s not all bad though if you find you and your dog or dogs are stuck indoors. Making a dog use its nose can help to wear them out, so play games that expand energy and help them to fight the boredom:
Get the schnozz working! Hide their favourite toy somewhere in the house (make it not too difficult, but hidden enough they have to use their nose). Do this a few times – make sure you choose different places to hide them! Make sure they don’t see where you’ve gone – either put them in a different room, or if they’ll let you, drape a towel over their head whilst you hide the toy.
You’ll be surprised how quickly they’ll get tired doing this a few times. You may also be surprised how fast their tails go whilst they’re working!
Make or buy a snuffle mat. These are fabulous for hiding treats in. Your dogs will have to use their noses to find the tasty morsels.
They’re easy to make with a mat and an old fleece blanket, or you can take the easy way out and buy one!
I must mention, however, I know two dogs who do not have the patience to go snuffling. They find it far more efficient to tip the mats upside down and miraculously give it a shake! Not mentioning any names – Isla and Daisy!
Snuffle the grass!
If you don’t want to buy a mat, but have a lawn outside, throw the treats over the grass.
The only downside to this is your dog will always check the lawn for treats – so may want to change the game every now and again.
Another way of hiding the treats. Either fill and freeze a Kong, or put treats to drop out of for foraging.
What’s fab about freezing them, is you can prepare them in advance for if you’re not feeling too well if you catch the dreaded virus.
That is – if your dog likes them. Daisy can either take or leave them! She just looks at you in disgust that you’ve made her treat hard to get!
Hide the Treat
Now, these might be in short supply, but you’ll need the inserts of toilet rolls!
Put their favourite treat in the inner and fold it each end. Then pass it to your pooch and let them find the flavour!
You will have some bits of cardboard to clean up, but your furry friend will love you for it!
Teach them a new trick, or even just refresh the old ones
Have you noticed how your dog will always feel worn out after a training session – use this to your advantage! Even if it’s a combination of sits, downs, stays or other tricks they know. Get their brains working!
If you’re feeling up to it, have a quick play – your dog will love having some interaction with you, whilst also giving their muscles a quick work out.
If you have a big dog, you may need to tie your end of the toy to something solid!
Now I realise a lot of what I’ve mentioned includes food and treats. This will have a knock on effect if you give more food than exercise, so you may want to either use part of their dinner in the play or training, or slightly reduce their tea!
There’ll be more coming on how to care for your dog during this troubling time, however, at least using some of the above, you’ll both have fun!