(photo from the internet someone sent me - source unknown)
With half of the country currently in "Lock-Down" and our WA Hard Boarder trying to keep the infected Eastern masses at bay, we all need to have some ideas of what we can do for our Fur Babies during these lock downs and restrictions. Here are just a few ideas to get you started….feel free to add some of your own in the comments…we are all in this together!
1. Have A Home Photo Shoot. This can be so much fun for both you and your fur baby, and you might even end up with some amazing photos for your social media or to grace the walls of your home. Check out my blog - Dog Photography:How to take Great Photos of Your Dog Yourself
2. Start a Social Media Pooch Page or Pintrest Pooch Pinup Board. Not something I have tried myself, but I have seen lots of dogs with their own accounts (helped by their supportive Pawrents). If you are happy to start sharing your dogs life online, posting photos and using their personality to create content for social media, who knows they might end up being the next Doggie Superstar or a high profile Dog Influencer. If they do please ask them to give West Coast Woofers a plug here and there! (Haha)
3.Make Some Healthy Home Made Treats. There are lots, lots and lots of healthy dog treat recipes on the internet, but please just make sure that any ingredients you use are safe for dogs, for example Peanut Butter needs to be free of Xylitol as this can be toxic to dogs. One of my personal favourite sites is https://www.wiggleworthy.com which I use for my own to perfect pups!
4. It’s Playtime. Depending on your dogs breed and temperament there are lots of games you can play with them like fetch (Absolutely YES for Whisky - that’s a big NO for Cebar - talk to the paw he doesn't do fetch!) be it balls, sticks, ropes or a frisbee. You can try tug-of-war with a rope toy or hide-and-seek in the garden or inside the house with one of their favourite toys (even YOU!). One of the old-time favourites is to put a ball in the bottom of a long sock or pair of stockings tie it to a pole or clothes line (Hills Hoists were the best) and swing it round to let them try to jump and catch it. There are also lots of cool interactive toys to help entertain your dog in the down time and avoid boredom - such as the Wicked Bone, all kinds of feeding puzzles, Liki mats and snuffle mats (just be careful not to overfeed). Remember playtime doesn’t have to be all high energy and exertion, and nice cuddle and tummy rub can be just as beneficial and satisfying.
5. Paw Print Artwork. Make sure to use materials that are non-toxic (ink, paint, paper, canvas or fabric), You might also need someone to help you as it can quickly end up in a bit of a mess but with adequate planning, paw prints of your dog are well worth the effort and can end up in beautiful Artwork you will treasure forever like the ones on the Bored Panda Panda Website (photo above from that link).
6. Home Doggie Day Spa. You may already groom your dog yourself, or you may use professional services, in any case during a Covid Lock Down it will be up to you to tame those shaggy locks! Give your dog a massage during a nice bath (which they may or may not enjoy!), dry them off (naturally or with a hair dryer if they don’t mind the noise and heat), clip the worst off any excess or matted fur with scissors or if you do own professional clippers you can use those, brush them down with a shedding brush or massage brush, don’t forget to clean those toothy pegs (if they will let you) and clip their nails if needed. WOW who knew under all that mess there was this gorgeous Fur Baby waiting to explode on centre stage!
7. Tack and Sniff Treasure Hunt. Use some of those yummy treats you baked at No 3 to create a treasure hunt around the house by hiding them in safe places for your dog to sniff them out and track them down. Think like a giant snuffle mat game! You can make this as simple or as complicated as you like, taking minutes or even hours, and it could be a good lead in to some later scent training where they react in a certain way to tell you where the treat is - not just gobble it up! But a word of warning do remember how many treats you hide and where you hide them, you don’t want to leave anything behind that might go mouldy, smelling or attract uninvited guests like mice!
8. Agility Training Obstacle Course. Use everyday items around the house, even better if you have some kids toys available, to create a fun obstacle course with things to weave in and out of, go around, jump over, go under, go through or run up and over. Always make sure whatever items you use are safe for your dog, set up in a safe way and of course supervise your Fur Baby with this fun activity to ensure there are no accidents.
9. Teaching Obedience Training. You can join a club for when you are not in lockdown who can provide you with lots of information and resources, or just research it yourself so you can do your training at home. Teaching your Fur Baby the basics like sit, down, wait, stay and come, or refreshing these commands if they already know them, is not only fun for your dog, but is helps reinforce their security with you as the Alpha of their pack - ready to support and protect them.
10. Just Spoil Them Rotten! Whatever your dog really enjoys and gets a kick out of, be like Nike and JUST DO IT! Giving them one-on-one attention where they are the focus might be all they need and want. You might want to spoil them with an extra special toy or accessory (bought online of course during a Covid Lock Down). It might be to play dress-ups with the kids - if that’s something your Fur Baby would enjoy doing, or just snuggling up on the couch together whilst you read a book or watching a movie and having a few healthy snacks - we used to do the unhealthy snack thing but since Cebar’s near death experience with Pancreatitis last year it’s only every low fat healthy snacks for my Fur Babies now. Surprisingly red capsicum is one of their favourites!
Unfortunately, living with the threat of Covid is the new reality for us all, and part of that is that lock-downs and restrictions can happen at the drop of a hat, so have a few of these ideas handy for when you need them! STAY SAFE!