Anyone with a particularly energetic pet will know that morning walkies, as fun as they are, just aren’t enough. We’ve had to get creative about shopping, teaching kids, and drinking during the lockdown, and entertaining your furry friends is no different. Let the creative juices flow. Here are some top-notch tips about how to entertain your pets during the lockdown.
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According to the pet store, Canine & Co., “The lockdown can be stressful for pets too, but that does not mean you should despair as there are many activities that you could adopt to stimulate your dog and ease the discomfort due to their disrupted behaviour.”
Werner Roos, a dog behaviourist and trainer, has a few creative ways to entertain your pets during lockdown (in addition to a morning walk).
Try scatter feeding
This is a super-easy way to keep your furry family busy for a longer period of time. Dogs naturally love to hunt, so making them earn their treats by looking for them shouldn’t be seen as punishment.
Also known as ‘nose work’, this game is also a quick way to get them moving and ready for bedtime. Use only part of their normal daily food portion for this activity so that you don’t overfeed them. This also still ensures that they receive their daily nutrient quotient.
Start the game by dropping some food or snacks while they are watching you and then start spreading it over a larger area. You can also make them ‘sit or stay’ while you scatter the food, then letting them know when they are allowed to start looking for the food.
Give nose games a go
This game can be quite fun once your dog has learnt and understands the command to ‘find the treats’. And you can even keep them in another room while you hide their treats so that you make the scavenger hunt more exciting.
To make this game extra rewarding, make sure you use some delicious and high-reward treats. Start off by having your dog watch as you place them around the room and then ask them to find the treats once you’re ready to go.
Get interactive dog toys
You can now buy dog toys in your local supermarket or pet shop. There are some really fun toys available that should keep your pooch entertained for hours on end.
But if finances are a little tight, you can also make your own. Relieve your pet’s boredom (and yours) through interactive play. Simply place some dry dog food or treats into an empty 2-litre cold drink bottle and let your dog roll the bottle around letting the treats fall out. Make sure you are with your pet when they are playing with any type of toy, to ensure safety.
Full up on frozen treats
An easy, inexpensive way to entertain your pets during lockdown is to make your own frozen treats for them. Admittedly, this can get a little messy to it’s best to give them these treats in the garden. Fill up an ice tray with some delicious meaty broth and freeze these for your furry companion.
They will appreciate this when the weather is warm or even as a post-walk treat. If you don’t have meaty broth, you can also look at freezing some of your dog’s dry food in plain water in an ice tray.
Basic obedience training
This is an activity you can, and should, practice with your dog every day. ‘Sit’, ‘lay down’, ‘shake’, and ‘stay’ are the basic commands to start with – we all love a well-mannered pooch (and so do your visitors!).
But training your dog to obey a new command is a great challenge for them. It also provides a good workout for their brains! Remember not to spend a lengthy period of time doing this, but rather 5 minutes at a time.
Not sure how to get started? Watch the video below for all you need to know about the basics of dog training.