In light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, more pet owners are finding themselves indoors for longer periods of time, without access to doggy day-care or walking services. Dog joint supplement company, YuMOVE have created six top tips to keep your dog active and healthy during self-isolation.
1) Teach them tricks
A great idea for exercising your dog indoors is teaching them new tricks, working out their mind and their body. You can practice the basics such as paw, sit and roll, to weaving through legs, picking up toys, fetching slippers (if you like holey ones!) and spinning. So you can combine exercise with learning! Invest in a clicker to aid your training or purchase an activity toy to develop their concentration levels. With this, ensure your pooch isn’t too senior and not currently experiencing joint stiffness when carrying out this activity.
2) Play tug of war
Get in touch with your dog’s instincts by tiring them out with a hefty game of tug of war. Establish your position as master and keep the mood light, although tug of war is great for tiring out your pooch a competitive dog could be prone to get riled up. It is imperative to remain cool and in control, breaking up the tug of war with breaks and not rewarding aggressive behaviour. Be sure the “war” is carried out on non-slip flooring and do you best not to lift your dog up during the game.
3) Create an obstacle course
If you’re stuck indoors then your home can become the perfect obstacle course for your pet and it’s pretty fun for you too. All you have to do is plan out your obstacle course then lead your dog through it. If you’re lucky enough to have space you can get your dog jumping over chairs and circling around them, looping tables or running under them. You could also create tunnels with blankets or use pillows to create a slalom. Not only will they love the exercise but the change-up and challenge will also engage them mentally. With this activity be sure that both you and your pooch have a good deal of space and there is no medical reason that would stop them from taking part in this. You should also make sure that this activity isn’t done on wooden flooring or flooring that results in your dog slipping. The obstacles that you have created will need to be easily surmountable, we don’t what any injuries for either of you.
4) Chase the bubbles
Bubbles aren’t just humans! Doggy bubbles are an amazing way to get your dog moving, especially the flavoured ones made specifically for dogs. Although most bubble mixes made for children are non-toxic we’re a fan of Pet Qweks IncrediBubbles. These flavoured bubbles will have your dog chasing, biting and popping bubbles until they are ready for a snooze, with even a short session working wonders for your four-legged friend.
5) Play hide and treat
Have you ever played hide and seek with your pup? Dr Chad Dodd cites this as one of his favourite ways to keep a dog active indoors, “One of my favourites is a playoff of the old game hide and seek. We call it hide and treat. Hide some kibble in favourite toys around the house and let your dog slowly go and find them and bring them back for a treat. “
Food is the key to all our hearts and you can use your dog’s favourite treats to physically tire them out. Try hiding treats all over your house in tricky spots to keep your dog busy sniffing out tasty treats whilst exercising. When playing this game, it’s probably a good idea to make it not too difficult because you don’t want to be stepping on lots of toys or kibbles laying around the house for the next couple of days.
6) Make food fun
Hiding treats is not the only option for food-based ideas for indoor exercise, with a variety of food toys on the market designed to keep your dog busy they’ll be tired and chilled in no time! “Try placing a healthy treat inside a puzzle and let your dog work throughout the day to get it out. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity when it comes to keeping your pet healthy,” says Dr Dodd.
Chad Dodd, vet from Yumove