What can you and your dog do if you are confined to your house due to illness or social withdrawal? Our dogs require daily activity, mental stimulation, and contact just as we do. Here are some activities you and your dog can perform at home if you are under self-quarantine because you are ill or immune-compromised.
While it's commonly known that cats are effective predators, don't forget that dogs also like hunting! Train your dog to hunt instead of merely giving it food from a dish. Place some of their snacks and/or kibble in secret spots about your house. You may either utilize toys and that are professionally made or loosely conceal them. Don't force your dog to transition to a puzzle feeder if they have never used one before. You don't want to make their first search too challenging since if they quit up, it won't be pleasant for you or your dog. Continue to give them the majority of their food in the familiar bowl, but bury part of the kibble in the spots your dog like to visit.
There are several toys and puzzle feeders that are immobile. Veterinary experts are better recognizing dogs' demands for intellectual stimulation and enrichment as they gain more knowledge about canine behavior. This is fantastic news for dog owners since it means that there are more and more commercial puzzle toys accessible. Set your dog up for success, just like with rolling puzzle feeders. Start easy if your dog has never used a puzzle toy before.
Make a Snuffle Mat
A snuffle mat is basically another puzzle feeder/toy where your dog may use their nose to find food, treats, and smaller toys concealed inside the mat. They are also quite easy for you to make when you are already confined to your house and need to find something to occupy your time. All you need to build one is a length of fleece and a rubber pad with holes all over it (up to a yard in length, depending on the size of the mat). One to one and a half inches broad by six to seven inches long, cut the fleece into strips.
If consistency is your aesthetic, make sure the length of each strip is the same. You don't need to be as accurate if you want a more textured appearance. Thread a piece of fleece through one mat hole, back through the hole right next to it, and make a single knot to start building your snuffle mat. Make sure that all the knots and fleece tails remain on one side of the mat as you continue until you have completed the first row of holes, then repeat for each successive row. Give your dog free rein to explore the fleece after scattering some treats or kibble there.
The Classics: Fetch, Tug-o-War, and Tag
Who says playing requires being in a park? You don't need anything else if you have the floor space! Naturally, "no balls in the house" wasn't simply a lighthearted home rule for most of us growing up, so be careful when playing to keep things from getting too boisterous. If your dog prefers to play tug-of-war or tag/keep-away, they can also be entertaining methods for your dog to burn off energy (and for you, too).
Develop your fetching skills further! To truly get your dog going, throw the ball down a hallway or flight of stairs. However, just as with retrieve and keep-away, be careful that things don't get out of hand too much to prevent your dog from knocking something over in the home.
Teach Them a New Trick
Spend the additional time teaching your dog new tricks. Your dog may quickly learn to wave, spin, and play dead on command by using a and their favorite little reward.