It is proven that bored dogs always get into trouble. And as we lock ourselves up at home to keep us safe from the coronavirus, we are their main source of entertainment. If we fail to provide them what they need to overcome their boredom, they will come up with activities of their own such as pulling curtains and chewed-up shoes.
By playing with your pooch, on the other hand, a few times a day, you can reduce the likelihood of your dog developing destructive habits such as chewing or excessive barking. To keep your dog amused, here are some indoor quarantine activities to try out.
Search And Sniff Treats Activity
Canines are gifted with a remarkable sense of smell. Did you know that dogs have scent receptors that are 45 times more powerful than humans? And what better way to exercise their nose than by making a game that allows them to use it.
All you have to do is grab your pup’s favorite treat and have him watch you place the treats around the room. Give your pooch the go-ahead signal to “find the treats,” and encourage him to sniff and find all of them. Remember to reward your doggo with praises every time he finds one.
When you think your pup has grasped the meaning of “find the treats,” you can level up the game by letting them stay in another room while you hide their doggy snacks. Feel free to stash their treats in areas that will be challenging for them to sniff, like under a rug.
If you don’t want to hide it under a rug, you can also use a snuffle mat to engage your dog’s curiosity and sense of smell more. It has different puzzles with adjustable difficulty and multiple pockets to hide the treats. With this, you’re not only working on their nose skills but also helping them by stimulating your dog mentally.
Choosing the right type of dog treat is also vital for your pup’s health while you do the search and sniff game. Hence, look for snacks that are appropriate for their breed. If you’re a poodle parent, for instance, you can opt to buy the best dog food for poodles that is suitable for their size and age. Avoid treats that contain artificial coloring and sweeteners as they may harm your dog’s health.
Play Some Interactive Games With Your Doggo
To keep your pooch busy, you can also do some interactive games such as puzzle games, fetch, and tug. Interactive games are a great way to give your pup enough mental stimulation, and they can help lessen problem behaviors such as constant barking or chewing. However, just a reminder, if you’re going to play fetch indoors make sure to use a lightweight ball to avoid breaking your stuff at home.
If you want to increase your pup’s impulse control and manners, you can also play a fun game of tug with your pooch. It is an all-time classic of the games to play indoors with your furry pal. Plus, it’s also a pretty good workout. However, since it’s one of the more physically demanding games, you also need to be careful not to overstimulate your hound.
Now, before you play this game you also need to make sure that your pup is well trained in the basic commands like “LEAVE IT” to avoid any issue during the game. If you feel that your pup is well-formed for the tug-of-war, then you can have fun and start the game.
- If your dog gets extra hyper and destructive, the game ends.
- If the master’s command is ignored, then the game ends.
- If they do any mouthing, the game is over.
Nevertheless, don’t be annoyed or upset by your pup’s excited growling. Experts say this is positive and playful for dogs.
You can let your pup win sometimes too! The old wives’ tale is that if the pup wins, you allow them to develop dominance which may result in trouble in the future. But science debunks this and says that occasionally allowing your pup to win is not an issue at all. In fact, it makes dogs want to play more!
Famous psychologist, John Bradshaw had a perfect NPR response about this topic during his interview. He said, “If you let a pup win over and over again at a tug of war, they like you.” He goes on to say that “…dogs do not get into their head that you are kind of a soft touch and that in the future they will be able to control you and whatever you do.”
In this case, search for competitive games to play with your furry best friend and there is no downside to enabling them to win sometimes. If you want to learn more challenging games you can play with your pooch, there is an assortment of exercises that you can try here.
Teach Your Pooch To Clean Up Their Toys (Yes, This Is Possible!)
If you store your pup’s toys in some kind of a container, it is possible to teach your dog to place them away for themselves. Not only will this stimulate their cognitive development it can also teach them new skills to boost their confidence.
If your pup knows the “DROP IT” command, then you can simply ask him to pick up his toy. And once he’s standing over the container, give them the command, “drop it.” Shower your pup with praise when they get it right and then repeat the process. Consistently play this activity and soon your pup will be able to pick up their toys after themselves.
Do DIY Enrichment Activities
- DIY Kong: use a jar or toilet paper and fill it with frozen treats or frozen peanut butter.
- DIY Toy: wrap a plastic water bottle with an old t-shirt. It’s ideal for dogs that love crunchy noises.
- DIY treat puzzle: cut holes in a PVC pipe and stuff it in with treats.
- DIY rope toy: cut a hole in each side of a tennis ball, then insert the rope through it until the ball is in the center. Tie knots on either side of the ball to keep it in place.
- DIY braided rope toy: utilize scraps of old t-shirts to braid and turn into a rope toy.
- DIY box puzzle: if you have been receiving tons of deliveries lately, you can use those extra boxes to stash the treats inside. Cut holes into empty boxes and place the treats inside for a fun and inexpensive dog toy.
Give Them A Doggy Massage
We pet our pups each day. It is something that we always do without even realizing it. So why not level it up and give your pooch a real massage? A nice massage can both soothe you and your furry pal. It also helps with health-related factors such as circulation, anxiety, and muscle tension. Your dog will know that these are super special pats filled with extra care and affection.
There are plenty of things you can do inside your house with your dog while being quarantined. Think about this lockdown as a time to bond with your pet and a time to develop their physical and mental skills. Don’t forget that vets are (mostly) still open and offering curbside service, so if you have any queries beyond keeping your dog entertained and overcoming their boredom, don’t hesitate to reach your vet out.