How are you doing? Are you staying well and safe (and sane) at home?
We’re sticking with our one day at a time mentality around here, but now that we’re a few weeks in, I feel like we need to create some kind of routine or structure to our days. A big piece of that needs to include the animals because they’ve been a bit overlooked as we adjusted to this new normal, and they’re also a smidge out of sorts with how different their lives suddenly became. Are your pets feeling like that, too?
If you’re looking for ideas to keep your dog busy during social distancing, I’ve got you covered!
I started to dig through my archives to pull up ideas on boredom busters for Coop. Below are several posts that will give you dozens of projects and ideas. One note: Most were written for surviving Indiana winters indoors, but almost all of the activities can be moved outside if you have a safe area to play with your pup. Just remember that if it’s a training exercise, outside is way more distracting than inside, so you might need to work a little harder.
But, hey. We’ve got the time…
I wrote this one for high-energy dogs like Cooper. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the (normal, typical, pre-quarantine) day to tire him out. Implement one or all of these to get a tired pup!
This is my most-trafficked blog post almost every month. And it’s from 2010! We’re always looking for ways to entertain our dogs, I suppose. This will get you started! And when you check all those off the list…
One game on this list is “find it.” We play this several times a week. Recently, Violet’s gotten in on it, and I need to post it to Instagram Stories because it’s hilarious. She hides the toy, tells Coop to find it, then she runs over to where she hid it and yells, “It’s over here Cooper!! Here it is!!”
One of the tips in this post feels like a cheat–take a drive–but is so important right now. A spin around town with the windows down can do a world of good for you and your dog.
A solid recall is, I believe, the most important cue for a dog to know. Hands down. If your dog’s recall isn’t solid right now, no worries. We have time to work on it! There are tons of ideas, tips, troubleshooting, and game ideas in this post. If you work on nothing else during this time, work on recall.
The weather is getting nicer around here, and as soon as it starts to warm up, Newt itches to get outside. It’s time to break out their harnesses and leashes. If you’re interested in taking your cat outside safely, this is the post for you. (Also, I highly recommend you check out Chirpy Cats for the most EPIC backyard cat runs and catios. These are on my dream “someday” list for a backyard reno.)
Just keep playing! Ultimately, we have no idea how long we’re really going to be socially isolated. The most important thing is to find ways to bring joy to the situation, and play does it. If you don’t want to work through any training exercises or you don’t want to DIY or purchase some puzzles, then focus on fun. Grab a ball and play fetch. Go for a long walk. Play tug. Anything that keeps you and your pup happy and entertained.
I hope this helps, and in the meantime, stay well, friends.