The current lockdown situation can be a confusing time for pets, particularly dogs that are used to spending a large portion of the day alone, that now find themselves getting to spend time with their owners all day long. While it’s great that we have this newfound time to strengthen the relationships with our pets, it can be difficult for your dog to understand that it can’t have your undivided attention all the time.
It’s important to stick to a daily routine and make it clear to your dog when its time to play and when its time for them to occupy themselves or relax. One way to do this is to have set times of the day where you dedicate a significant amount of time to play with your dog. Listen to your dog’s needs and understand when they seem to have the most energy or when they seem to want to sleep, to create a routine that works for both parties. Playtime should be a set hour or even less where you do activities with your dog, giving them your full attention and affection to burn off energy, so you can also have plenty of time to yourself.
Although it’s definitely a tricky time to tire your dog out physically with us only being allowed one hour of exercise per day, there are plenty of ways to mentally stimulate their dog to avoid any problematic behaviours cropping up as a result of boredom. Benchmark Kennels are highly experienced in keeping large or working dogs active and stimulated, whether you have time to dedicate to play with your dog or you need an activity that can occupy your dog while they spend time in an outdoor kennel. Keep reading for some fun dog activities to try during the lockdown period…
Fun activities for your dog…
Now is the perfect time to teach your dog some new tricks or commands – something that we’re all guilty of not having enough time for in everyday life. If there are any basic commands that your dog hasn’t yet learned like sit, lie down, stay or recall that you need to work on, tick these off first. However if your dog is ready to move onto more advanced movements, why not be ambitious and try tricks like bark, rollover, figure eight and more.
What’s great about teaching a dog new tricks is the time it takes time to get right, with time being something that many of us have an abundance of in the current situation. Dedicate small amounts of time each day to working on the new tricks until eventually, your dog knows exactly what to do, either after a particular hand movement or after you say the command.
Dog training activities are great ways to keep your dogs mind active and functioning healthily, which can leave them tired out and more relaxed for the rest of the day, rather than having them run riot around your home due to a lack of stimulation. Not only does teaching your dog a variety of different commands and tricks benefit dog owners by leaving them with a dog that is far easier to manage, but dogs love learning too and will become far closer to their owners throughout the training process.
If you have children, you will be familiar with setting up egg hunts or other types of treasure hunts to keep your kids occupied – this works for dogs too. Why not hide small amounts of tasty dry food or treats around your home for your dog to spend time sniffing out? It’s a surefire way to keep your dog busy and guaranteed, they won’t give up until they’ve found all of them.
If your dog is on a diet or you don’t want to place dog treats around your home, you can even hide instead. Get all the household involved and play hide and seek with your dog by hiding in different places around the home and calling your dog one-by-one. Not only will this be incredibly exciting for your animal, but it will help to improve their recall and spatial awareness skills too.
If you’re one of those people who has been buying an excessive amount of toilet roll, or you are making a lot more online purchases than usual, you will likely have plenty of cardboard recycling lying around. Empty cardboard boxes that have been hollowed out are great for creating obstacles for your dogs to crawl through, jump over or jump up onto to practise their agility, keep their muscles moving and improve mobility.
Finally, to help avoid one of the most common problem behaviours shown by dogs, chewing, try to factor this into your dog activities. There is a huge range of chew toys available online such as the well-known Kong toys, which allow dogs to exercise their mind, keep their teeth healthy and stay occupied for long amounts of time.
If you aren’t able to get your hands on a chew toy during the lockdown period, putting your dogs’ favourite treats in some water and popping them in the freezer will leave you with some frozen treats for your dog to spend time chewing on. Or, you can create tugs of war using pieces of old rope to improve your dogs’ teeth and muscle strength!
For those dog owners that have an outdoor space such as a garden or a dog kennel for their dog to spend time, complex and challenging chew toys using treats are a great way to absorb your dog in an activity for long periods of time without you having to give them your full attention. If your dog is a large breed or a working dog and spends their time in a wooden or WPC kennel outdoors, Kong toys and hiding treats can keep your dog’s mind busy and stimulated during lockdown while you focus on working from home.
Need an outdoor kennel large enough for fun dog activities?
Benchmark Kennels are manufacturers of bespoke dog kennels, providing dog owners of all breed types, sizes and temperaments with a secure and spacious place for dogs to kept outdoors. With each kennel being custom-made, you can choose the specific size, material, properties and structure of your kennel to ensure that it suits your dog and property.