A common problem I’ve noticed many share is a struggle to keep their children entertained throughout the prolonged break caused by Covid-19. But a lesser acknowledged yet more urgent issue is lack of ways to keep pets stimulated and busy throughout all this free time. Specifically, dogs are loving the increase of time that they’re able to spend with their owners now that everyone works at home and attends school online. It’s their dreams come true, and they want nothing more than to play for hours on end.
But unlike dogs, people aren’t as enthusiastic about going on walks 24/7, especially now that social distancing makes it harder to walk in local parks. The problem with this is that the dogs may end up destroying shoes, eating things they shouldn’t, and peeing on the carpet to prove their point and get revenge on you for not giving them enough attention. I too have a needy and affectionate dog who can make life difficult for you if left to his own devices. But I have discovered some fun ways to keep both him and myself happy. Here’s a simple yet helpful guide on suggestions and ideas on how you can mix it up a little and try some new activities while still social distancing and self-isolating!
Teach your dog a new trick!
Though this may sound too obvious and simple for it to be fun, it’s a great way to pass the time with your dog and impress your friends! These past few weeks I have been working towards training my own dog the trick “play dead”. We’ve made significant progress, though instead of looking dead he just looks like he’s ready to fall asleep. This is a great idea for people who have fast learning dogs and want to start a long term project. It will require patience for dog owners, and a lot of treats to use as motivation and bribery. The only downside is that your dog may begin begging for treats more often and start stealing them from your hand when you least expect it. (Speaking from experience!) Dogs sure are mischievous!
Go hiking or try geocaching somewhere new- explore!
From a simple stroll to a hardcore mountain trek, this is always a great excuse for you to get out of the house and get some much needed exercise. Walking somewhere new is always an exciting adventure, and what’s better, both you and your dog are able to enjoy the wonderful outdoors. Dogs love nature, and you will too! It’s the perfect activity to help you relax and tire out your pet. There are many pros to this, but there are a few cons worth mentioning too. Your dog may roll around in the mud, and this could result in your car being destroyed. In addition to that, your dog may drink water from the dirtiest possible stream just to spite you, becoming sick from giardia. (Speaking from experience!) Remember to pack plenty of snacks and water, and always be prepared for the worst. Hurry now, and go hiking before all of the parks are closed!
Share a bath with your dog!
After that fun hiking experience, your dog will most likely be pretty muddy from the trail. Cleaning them up in a bubble bath is a great way to both save your precious white carpets from being destroyed, and get yourself soaking wet! Results may vary depending on how scared your dog is of water. For my bathing experience, since my dog is terrified of baths, it’s necessary for me to crawl in there with him and sit him on my lap. A common tactic I use to keep him calm is bribing him with his favorite treat- cheerios! Be careful though, and make sure to close the shower door all the way, or your dog may try to escape and pull a houdini. This is worst case scenario, because they may then run away and shake the water off, splattering your bathroom walls (Speaking from experience!). Hopefully that won’t happen, and you’ll have a delightful time, getting bubbles in your mouth and bonding with your pup! Some things to remember are that you should always get 17 towels ready beforehand, just in case.
Feature your dog in a personal photoshoot!
Now that your dog is all clean and fluffy from their bath, it’s the perfect time to host a delux photoshoot! Who doesn’t want to spend hours attempting to take photos of your hyper dog who won’t sit still? It may take some time, but the results sure are worth it. Dogs are adorable! Just post your photos to Instagram, and you too can become a shallow pet owner who shows off your dog for fame. Who knows, your dog may even become famous! A tip for keeping your dog still is to hold a treat over the camera. The hardest aspect of this is that your dog may continually lick the camera lens and drive you crazy. (Speaking from experience!)
Have your dog model designer sweaters and DIY costumes!
Let’s take the photoshoot a step further! Since we have so much free time, now is the perfect time for your dog to model all of their cute little outfits. From Christmas sweaters to raincoats, your dog will transform into a fashionable star! But if your dog’s anything like mine, they may try to bite off their stylish outfits. (Speaking from experience!) Don’t worry, they’ll get used to it. Try to get creative with their outfits and use different materials to dress them up: Ribbons, scarves, miniature hats, etc. My personal favorite outfit is the Roman toga, created by tying a blanket around my dog. It may be historically inaccurate, but it sure is cute!
Watch a movie with your dog and bring out the popcorn!
Watching a movie with your dog is always a super fun way to end the day. It’s an easy process that only includes a few steps: First, gather enough blankets to swaddle your dog in a burrito. Next, make some quick popcorn. You may start out thinking that this popcorn is for you, but later you’ll realize you were mistaken. Your dog will steal all of the popcorn, even from you. (Speaking from experience!) Finally, select an appropriate film featuring a dog as the main character. I personally recommend watching only PG rated movies with your dog, until they reach 13. There are many options when it comes to movies your dog will enjoy, but here is a quick list of my dog’s favorites:
Lady and the Tramp
The Fox and the Hound
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Surrender to your dog and end up going on five walks a day!
Eventually you will submit and give in to what your dog really wants: To go on a walk. You will end up doing this again, and again, and again. (Speaking from experience!) Though you may have been trying to avoid doing this, you will soon realize that it’s futile to resist. It’s easier to just join the dark side. When you do go on walks though, still remember to social distance and be careful!
I hope you enjoyed reading my survival guide blog, and decide to use some of my ideas to entertain yourself and your dog during quarantine! Please follow my blog, and thank you for reading!