Our two dogs, Ace and Koda, have been especially happy that both my husband and I have been home for the past month. Even though it’s been so nice to snuggle them and keep them (us) company all day, I have to say, it’s been challenging to keep up a routine that we’ll also be able to stick to when hopefully this is all over with. Our dog Koda, was particularly sensitive as a puppy and had bouts of separation anxiety, so routine is very important for us. If you’re looking for some ideas about keeping a routine and things to do with your pups during this time, I’ve put together a few things you can do with your pups while social distancing.
1. Groom, Trim, Bathe and Brush Those Teeth!
Just like humans, dogs need some self-care too. Specifically if you have a breed that needs daily brushing or maintenance. I shared a video of my husband and I blow drying and brushing Ace a few nights ago and had a few people reach out thanking us for the inspiration. It’s not an easy job. And with dog groomers closed, now is a great time to start doing something at home. We’ve also got into the habit of brushing the dogs’ teeth every evening. They both have plaque build-up (gross, I know). But it’s something that we need to manage and being in lock-down means we really have no excuse.
2. Daily Walks
Now this is obviously something you should be doing every day anyway, but my tip is to keep the timing of the walks consistent with your typical daily workday. If you usually walk the dog at 7am, try to keep that time frame. Same thing goes for daily feeding routines. The more you can keep consistent, the better for you and your pet.
3. Subscribe to a Monthly Box
If funds allow, consider subscribing to a monthly box for your doggo. Something like Woof Pack could be a great way to get monthly treats and new toys without having to leave your home. These boxes also help to support local vendors in your community.
4. De-clutter Their Toys
We have a massive, massive, toy bin for our dogs and they probably play with 4 toys (2 of which are the exact same). Anyone else? Well…there’s a cute game you can play with your dogs to de-clutter. Pull a toy out one by one with your dogs, shake it or squeak it – anything to get their attention directed towards it – if they grab it and play or seem interested, it stays. If they couldn’t care less, it goes in the ‘wash and donate’ pile. Toss whatever is ripped or too worn.
5. Keep Their Mind (And Yours) Busy
This is a great time to teach your pet new tricks, work on existing behaviours and introduce new stimulating games. My absolute favourite game to play with the dogs is hide and seek. In our 2-bedroom apartment, we don’t have that many places to hide, so we have to get a bit creative. I have the dogs sit, stay and wait. I go hide and then give them to command to “find me” (once only). If you have another person in the house, as an added stimulant, you can get the dog to smell a piece of the other person’s clothing to pick up their scent. It’s so funny to watch them run around the house looking for you. Even better? Do this when it’s dark out and lights off (obviously don’t have any dangerous things laying about…).
What other ways are you keeping busy with your pups?