Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Pets nationwide are thrilled to have their humans home! As we practice social distancing you’re likely limiting your activities and you may be working from home. This unprecedented time at home is a chance for us to really bond with our pets and family members.
While your pets may be thrilled to see you home more, they’re also likely to get bored or restless. Hello kitties laying on the laptop and puppies barking on conference calls!
To keep yourself and your furry family members sane, we highly suggest taking short 15-30 minute breaks to give your pets some attention, love and playtime. While going to the dog park might not be the best idea right now (avoid other people) daily walks are highly recommended! After all, exercise is great for you and your pup and you can still go outside to walk, run and play during the quarantine.
Try making a game out of playing with your pets, or work on one on one training for 10-15 minutes during the day. Working on tricks for treats can help mentally stimulate your pet!
Below are some ideas of games and activities for keeping your pets entertained during the self quarantine.
1. Play a Game of "Find The Treats"
Sniffing games can be one of the easiest ways to tire out your dog. When you teach your dog some basic nose sniffing such as ‘find the treats’ you’re mentally tiring them out and helping them hone in on some of their natural skills.
Grab some treats and have your dog "sit" and "stay" as you "hide" them around the room. Give your dog the cue to “find the treats” and encourage your dog to pick them up, praising them each time they find one. Once they get more confident at “find the treats”, you can start making it a bit more challenging. Have them stay in another room as you hide the treats, and start hiding them in spots they have to sniff out such as under the couch or behind a chair.
2. Play the the Shell Game
The shell game is a simple problem solving game for dogs. To play the shell game, let your dog watch as you place a treat under one of three cups. You then shuffle the cups around and encourage them to ‘find the treat.’ The shell game gives your dog plenty of mental stimulation, and helps them work on their problem solving skills. If you're lucky, your cat might give you enough attention to play this game too!
3. Teach Your Dog to Clean Up His Toys
If your dog’s toys are kept in a container you can teach them to put their toys away. This is both fun and a productive chore! Teaching your dog new tricks boosts their confidence, and it’s a great way to give them more mental stimulation. If your dog already knows “drop it” have them pick up their toy and give them the command to "drop it" once you've got them standing over their toy box. Praise them a lot when they do this and repeat! Eventually with consistency you’ll have a dog that will be able to clean up after themselves.
4. Use a Stuffed Toy to Keep Your Dog Entertained
Stuffed Kongs or other treat hiding toys can be an incredible way to relieve your dog's boredom plus they're easy! If you want to keep your dog busy for awhile try stuffing a Kong with some of their favorite treats. You can freeze some peanut butter or broth inside, or just put some treats in there and give your dog something to work for. If you’re not sure what to use here’s a list of 39 healthy treats that are great for Kong stuffing.
Using a stuffed Kong is a great way to keep your dog occupied while you’re you're hard at work from home. Put your stuffed Kong in the freezer overnight and give it to your dog in the morning before you start your day. A frozen Kong will last 30+ minutes for most dogs — much longer if your fill it completely. We encourage the use of Kongs because they’re nontoxic, indestructible, and dishwasher safe.
5. Play a Game of Tug of War
Playing a game of tug of war is one of the best ways to engage in meaningful play with our dogs. It’s a great way to mentally and physically exercise your dog. And since it doesn’t require a ton of room you can play it indoors.
And contrary to what some people say playing tug will not make your dog aggressive, and letting them win will not make them dominant. Letting your dog win just makes the game more fun for your dog, and it will encourage them to play more. Dogs that play tug with their owners have been found to be more obedient and have higher confidence.
Pets Reduce Stress
Remember, pets help to reduce stress in this strange time. We know the news is heavy these days and can feel overwhelming, but spending time with your pets will give you the unconditional love you need. Pets are proven to help ease anxiety!
Pets and People, Saving Each Other
HSNT’s mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection; to provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, neglected, mistreated or otherwise in need; to promote an appreciation of animals; and to instill respect for all living things.