The government’s stay at home restrictions for Covid 19 coronavirus are having a huge impact on how we all live our lives, and many dog owners are struggling to work out how to care for dogs under the coronavirus stay at home restrictions without risking their own health or that of their families.
Dogs of course don’t know what is going on and why so many of us are at home for most of the day instead of out at work, and many are very much enjoying the novelty of it all so far – albeit it is very easy to let dogs get into bad habits or suspend their normal routines in ways that are avoidable too, which won’t do you or your dog any favours.
Many dog owners are struggling to provide their dogs with enough exercise during this time, being restricted as we are to one period of exercise each per day; which will of course mean that if you’re a dog owner, you will need to dedicate this time to walking your dog.
However, whilst this might mean that some dogs are getting more exercise than usual rather than less, for many if not most dogs in the UK, being restricted to one daily walk per person and keeping your dog fit is going to be something of a challenge.
With this in mind, this article will provide suggestions on how to keep your dog fit and provide additional opportunities for exercise for them at home within the remit and restrictions in place to slow the spread of Covid 19 coronavirus. Read on to learn more.
First of all, even if you’re the only person in you household and/or able to walk your dog, this still means that this time can be used to provide your dog with a reasonably long, active and varied walk. Even if your dog is used to being walked more than once or spending most of the day outside, being proactive about getting your dog moving and working off their excess energy during this one dedicated walk can go a long way towards taking the edge off their energy levels.
Also, if you and a neighbour can arrange remote handovers and/or you live with other people who aren’t self-isolating, you may be able to provide more than one daily walk for your dog too.
If you’ve got a garden or yard, this can be really helpful to give you a safe enclosed space to provide additional exercise for your dog during coronavirus restrictions, but doing this has to be proactive.
Simply turning your dog out loose into the garden might take care of their need to get some fresh air and do their business, but exercising a dog needs to be proactive, and they will soon get bored on their own or without anything to do in the garden.
Leaving your dog in the garden or yard alone is not exercise.
Even if you have a small garden, there are lots of things you can do to get your dog active within it if you’re prepared to think creatively!
Try hiding some toys for your dog to sniff out, playing fetch with them, killing two birds with one stone by getting the kids and dog playing together, and generally doing what you can to engage your dog and keep them moving.
If you’re limited for space, having the dog haring up and down might not be viable; but having them jump up and down garden steps or stairs, playing tag by nosing at your hand as you raise them alternately for the dog to jump to on the spot, and a number of other activities that make your dog move but without taking up a lot of space can all be ideas to explore.
Giving a dog enough exercise to fulfil their needs and tire them out is not just physical, but mental too; which means that anything that you can do to engage your dog’s brain will satisfy them and help to tire them out sooner than simply getting them to do a lot of directionless running around.
This is an ideal opportunity to refresh your dog’s training commands and restore their responsiveness, teach them new skills, or even find out how adept they are at learning tricks, and this is something no dog is ever too old to do, no matter what the old sayings might indicate!
Get your dog into a learning mindset first if you haven’t taken part in proactive training for some time, by refreshing their existing commands, getting them to look to you for direction, and going over the basics.
When they’re engaged and begin to see the reward in having your undivided attention, you can begin to build on their skillset and teach them new things!