After weeks of practicing social distancing, you’re likely getting pretty bored. If your dog is a social butterfly who’s used to group walks, doggie daycare, grooming appointments, and other activities, he’s probably just as bored as you. Even if your pup was more of a homebody before the COVID-19 pandemic, his routine has likely been majorly disrupted, which can cause stress.
The best way to beat boredom and alleviate stress is to keep your dog busy and happy. Here are 7 ways to keep your dog entertained while social distancing.
Learn a New Trick
Teaching your dog a new trick is a great way to keep him busy and sharpen his training skills, all while social distancing. If your dog already knows his basic commands, work on a playful trick.
Here’s a step-by-step of how to teach your dog to “play dead”, featuring Paws Pet Resorts Head Trainer, Seth, and training pup, Olive:
- Instruct your dog to lay down. (If your dog doesn’t know “down” yet, back up and start with teaching “down” first.)
- From a down position, use a treat to lure your dog’s nose in a manner that guides him to roll onto his side.
- Once on his side, reward and praise like crazy!
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until he gets the hang of it.
- Begin to add whichever cue you’d like (e.g. gun hand gesture with the command “bang”) and repeat steps 2 and 3 using the cue.
Some dogs will catch on quickly; others will need more time. Remember to keep it positive, be patient, and have fun!
If you want your dog to learn more fun tricks or get back to basics, drop him off at Paws Pet Resorts for some one-on-one training. Check out our training packages.
Take a Stroll
Getting some fresh air and exercise is important for your dog. Walks provide dogs with exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization (even 6+ feet apart). When out on a walk, dogs have the opportunity to engage with their environment, work on their leash walking skills, and burn off some energy.
Getting out of the house when you’ve been cooped up for so long is important for your wellbeing, too. Leash up Fido and take him for a stroll around the block. Just remember to keep your distance from others, no matter how cute they think your dog is.
If you feel like you can only do the same loop around the neighborhood so many times before you lose your mind, we get it. Bring your pup to Paws where he can enjoy walks with a staff member.
Keep Him Busy with Treats
As time goes on, it can be trickier to find ways to entertain your dog while social distancing. If you really want to keep your pup occupied, keep him busy with treats. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Long-lasting chews, such as Bully Sticks or Himalayan Dog Chews.
- Fill a Kong toy with peanut butter. You can even stick it in the freezer to make it last longer.
- Treat dispensing toys that make your dog really work for the treat.
Go for a Drive
To a dog, nothing is as exciting as a car ride. The second we grab our keys, Fido is bouncing up and down, just ready to go. Even if you’ve got nowhere in particular to go while social distancing, getting out of the house and taking a drive around town can work wonders if you and your dog are starting to go a little stir crazy. Remember to roll down your window so he can really enjoy it. After all, what good is a car ride if you can’t feel the wind in your fur, sniff all the scents, and fill your cheeks up with air?
Play a Game
Games and enrichment activities can stimulate your dog’s mind, burn some energy, and strengthen your bond, plus they’re plain fun! You can start with the classics, like fetch and tug-o-war. Then, you can move on to more challenging activities, like puzzle toys and DIY puzzle games.
Muffin Tin Treat Puzzle
- Place a yummy treat (the smellier, the better) in various cups of a muffin tin.
- Top every muffin tin cup with a tennis ball, regardless if the cup has a treat in it.
- Encourage your dog to sniff out the treats, move the ball, and get the treats. (You will likely have to show your pup the treats by lifting a tennis ball to get it going.)
If your dog needs even more stimulation and exercise during this time of social distancing, sign him up for learning games Paws Pet Resorts. We offer add-on activities for any daycare or boarding stay, including Puzzle Time, Sniff and Find, Mini Agility, Herding Games, and more.
Give Extra Cuddles
This period of social distancing can be a little (or a lot) stressful for you and your dog. Relieve that stress with some extra cuddles. According to Thrive Global, science has shown that cuddling with your dog stimulates the brain’s production of Oxytocin in both of you. Oxytocin is also known as the “love hormone” and is associated with feelings of trust, empathy, and strong bonds. It also inhibits the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Spend some time with your pup and give him extra attention. You can give him a belly rub or a gentle brush out, or you can just simply cuddle up on the couch together.
Play at Paws Pet Resorts
Whether you’re working from home or trying to homeschool the kids, you may not be able to give your dog as much attention as you’d like. If your pup keeps interrupting your video conference calls or he’s bouncing off the walls with boredom, take him to doggie daycare. There are so many benefits to doggie daycare – regular exercise, relieving boredom, curbing destructive behavior, improved socialization, and increased overall happiness.
Luckily, Paws Pet Resorts is an “essential” business and we’re open for boarding and daycare. We’re closely following the social distancing guidelines outlined by local government officials and health experts, including curbside pick-up and drop-off, so you can stay safe and your dog can have some fun.
For more information about our services, give us a call at 1-800-964-7297. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of fun photos of our adorable furry friends and behind-the-scene sneak peeks of life at Paws.