8 Ways to Entertain Your Dog During COVID-19
With most of the country under “stay-at-home” orders, there’s not much for you to do. Do you know who else might be a little bit bored? Your favorite furry friend. A dog is a great pal to socially isolate with right now during this COVID-19 pandemic. Due to social distancing regulations you probably aren’t seeing anyone other than the people you live with and your pets. You’ll have just as much fun engaging with them as they will with you, as their owner.
In your area, some of the normal activities you usually do with your dog might be closed right now, including parks and dog runs. That’s okay because we’re going to come up with 8 ways to entertain your dog during COVID-19. Keeping your best buddy entertained and getting enough exercise is vital for their health and wellness. Plus, it will make you feel good to play with your pet too. It’s a win-win for both of you.
Why Play Is so Important for Your Dog
In case you were wondering why play is so vital for your dog, there are many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that when a dog is bored they can lean towards being destructive. This can lead to chewing on your furniture, carpets, or even your favorite shoes. Or they might decide to dig up the backyard. They aren’t doing it to upset you, although some dogs do this for attention, they just don’t have many ways to keep themselves entertained.
Another reason you need to keep your dog entertained is for their physical health. Most of the play you’ll engage in with your pet will be some kind of physical activity. Whether that is simply chasing a ball you are throwing for them or going for a walk, any type of activity you do is great for their health. Dogs have a ton of natural energy. Capitalize on those resources for them so they are stimulated and happy each day.
Activity #1: Treat Fido to Some New Toys
Ideally purchasing some new toys that can provide some mental stimulation is a smart idea. It’s easy to order some great toys online that will come right to your door. You don’t even have to go out to buy anything extra during this coronavirus pandemic. This goes beyond just using a traditional ball. Look for toys that wiggle, squeak, or have interesting parts that move for your dog. They will be happy to have some new toys to play with, and you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly which ones are going to become new favorites. It’s also helpful to rotate out your dog’s toys so they have some variety to play with each week.
Activity #2: Teach a New Trick
Teaching your dog a new trick can be a ton of fun. Some fun tricks to teach your pal are shaking paws, giving a kiss, fetch, or standing on their hind legs. Also if your dog isn’t that good at basic obedience skills, like sit, stay, or rollover, you can teach them those basic skills first before moving on to more complex tasks. Keep in mind a healthy treat can help to reward your pooch after they learn a new trick.
Activity #3: Schedule a Doggie Virtual Play Date
You may not be able to have a doggie play date in person with any of your friends who have pets right now, but you can schedule a virtual one. Invite a bunch of your buddies that have dogs to an online doggie play date. Schedule a virtual session with everyone over Zoom or Skype. Have your dog next to you or on your lap, if they are small enough and interact with everyone and their pets on-screen.
Activity #4: Switch up Your Walking Routine
It might be helpful to take some extra walks with your pet to switch up their walking routine a bit. Take a different route to explore some new territory you and your dog don’t normally walk around. This can be exciting for your pet to smell new areas near your neighborhood. Just make sure you stay 6 feet away from any other pet owners who may be walking around outside at the same time for best COVID-19 practices.
Activity #5: Adopt a Rescue Dog
During the COVID-19 crisis, more and more shelters are getting dogs sent to them from families that can’t afford to keep their pets or have to give them up temporarily due to illness. The Humane Society believes that now is a perfect time, if you can swing it financially, to adopt or foster a new pet. If you only have one dog at home, it might be the right time now to consider giving them a furry buddy to love. Having more than one dog will allow them to entertain each other.
Activity #6: Play “Tug-of-War” With Them
An old school game that never stops being exciting for your dog is this classic. Tug-of-war with your best pal also gives them a sense of mental confidence, helps with strength, and can let them blow off some of their extra energy. Pick a toy that is specifically made for this game, like the super-strong KONG Tug Dog Toy.
Activity #7: Doggie Pool Day
With the weather outside getting warmer now that it’s spring, if it’s nice enough, you can pull out the kiddie pool for your pet. A “doggie pool” is wet fun for them if they enjoy being in the water. Have some waterproof toys to play with them in and around the pool as well.
Activity #8: Create a Dog Run in Your Backyard
Creating your own dog run or dog park in your backyard is the perfect idea for hours of entertainment. This is easy to do if you have a fence in the backyard. If you don’t, you are going to want to section off an area you can fence in for them to run around. The material you want to use on the ground can be concrete, gravel, wood chips, or mulch. Or you can just leave the grass as it is. Shading the area with a large umbrella is also a nice idea if you live in a very sunny area.
Now that you have a bounty of activities to enjoy with your dog during this unfortunate time of COVID-19, you can rest knowing that you are doing the absolute best you can to keep your pup happy and healthy.