It is certainly a difficult and uncertain time due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but luckily we have our pets! We have heard from many people that their dog is the only thing that has kept them sane while being stuck at home. Dogs are incredible at offering that comfort and support we currently need so badly! A huge positive is that current information states that dogs are not affected by COVID-19 like humans are. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that there is no evidence that dogs pass COVID-19, and only two dogs in the world are reported to have tested positive but the waters are murky in both situations. This means that you can keep counting on the love and support of your four legged friend!
Another thing that we have noticed is that the various shelter in place rules issued by many states, cities and counties have given people the time to spend with their families and their pets. This time is usually lacking but it is suddenly present! If you find yourself with more time you can definitely utilize that to do some fun and exciting things with your dog. They don’t need to be training related but certainly can be! If looking for training ideas, you can look back through our old articles on https://www.wshs-dg.org/ under the Resource Center. You may want to take a look at our Nosework article for a great way to take up some time and have some fun.
Another great training option with everyone at home is working on front door manners. Many dogs struggle with this and during the quarantine you shouldn’t be having many visitors (potentially making the issue worse once the quarantine is lifted). Use this opportunity to have members of your family that would normally be off doing other activities help you. It can be a great game to break up the boredom for kids as well. Have the kids run around the outside of the house, knock on the door or ring the doorbell while you work to calm your pup down inside. Do this over and over again, until the dog calms down to the activity.
If not working on training, just getting out for a walk is a great option to get some fresh air while still practicing your social distancing. We have noticed in the last few weeks that there are a lot more people walking with dogs in our neighborhoods. Sometimes these are people that we haven’t seen the entire time we lived in the neighborhood! The shelter in place orders have pushed people to get outside more, which is a great thing. This is a great opportunity to work on your dogs walking skills and ability to listen around distractions!
Finally, there are some easy games that you can play to pass the time. Hide and seek is by far our favorite and once again you can get kids involved. Simply put your dog in a stay in one room and go hide! When you get to your spot, release your dog and ask them to come find you. You may have to help out a bit the first few times but it’ll be great mental and physical exercise for your pup!
Stay active, play with your pup and stay safe!