As the world is rapidly changing around us in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many of us have found ourselves sequestered at home. It’s very likely that our dogs are LOVING this new set up due to the increased pets, attention, and treats we are all likely giving them!
However, the feeling may not be mutual…
We’ve bred dogs to be extremely social so it’s no surprise that if we’re home, they may be begging for attention! As someone who is trying to work productively from home, this may be an unforeseen nuisance in your life right now.
Therefore, I wanted to take this moment to provide some suggestions to keep your dog busy working on something productive so you can work, too! (Lis, this post is dedicated to you!)
If we don’t give our dogs something CONstructive to do, they will find something DEstructive to do.
First, BULLY STICKS. The first time I gave my first puppy a bully stick (11 years ago!) I was overjoyed. I could actually watch a movie in peace! It’s a good thing puppies are so dang cute, otherwise we would likely murder then multiple times a day. Bully sticks last for quite a while with most dogs and can give your dog something super fun and delicious to do while you’re on that conference call.
STUFF KONGS: These are must-have for all dog owners. A trainer friend of mine has gone on record saying that if you can only afford to buy one toy for your dog, a KONG is the toy to buy. Kong’s website has quite a few ideas and I encourage you to check it out here.
CRATE TRAINING. This is going to be a huge benefit now AND later. When you return to work, having your dog crate trained is going to make the transition for the dog much, much easier. To accomplish some crate training, you will also use bully sticks, stuffed kongs, and their toys. Put their toy or treat in the crate and just walk away. Let them go in and get it at their leisure. For the first few days, this is all you’re going to do. Your dog can enjoy their treat either in or out of the crate.
Once your dog is happily going in and out of the crate without resistance or prompting, then entice them to go into the crate with some treats. When they are in the crate, give them the Kong and shut the door. Just for a few seconds. Once they settle down with their Kong, that is your cue to open the crate door. And that’s all. Nonchalantly. No big deal.
After a few days, your dog going in and out of the crate will be easy for them and not stressful. From here, you’ll want to slowly build up the endurance for being in the crate. Be careful to only let your dog out when they are quiet and calm. This may be hard if your puppy is whining or whimpering. If they are vocalizing like that, it means you have moved through the steps too quickly. Go back to where you were last successful and work from there a little longer. Then, move more slowly through the steps so the dog can acclimate slowly to the crate.
While the world we are living in is not idea, it IS an ideal time to do some crate training!
EXERCISE. Another important element to keep your dog from driving you nuts while you’re spending all this time at home is exercise. The outside isn’t closed! Take them out for a few short walks and let them sniff. This mental stimulation will make a big difference for their well-being and calmness. It may even stave off some cabin fever in humans as well.
The April 11th seminar has been changed to a webinar! Sign up here for this fun and information event: www.thewonderfuldog.com/seminars