Zoey is the love of my life and she has been with me for almost 9.5 years. I got her when she was 8 weeks old, and to be honest, there are days when I think she knows my rhythm so intuitively that she can predict my morning routine. So you can imagine how doggone excited she’s been now that I am home 24-7 during quarantine!
Unfortunately for her, quarantine means less walks and outside play time. With social distancing being our new normal, play dates with other dogs are frowned upon. Here’s how to help your fur baby thrive while you’re both stuck indoors.
How to Entertain Your Pup While Working From Home
Although you might not be able to keep your dog as physically active while under quarantine, you can still keep your dog mentally exercised. Consider getting puzzle toys or treat dispensers to use in the house.
One thing to note, I would use low calorie treats during quarantine. Your pup will be exerting less energy and burning less calories, so you want to ensure you regulate their diet, so they don’t become overweight or develop diabetes.
I’ve listed a few of Zoey’s favorites below.
Turn on Music or TV – Zoey Loves Jon Stewart’s Voice
If you want your dog to feel relaxed, you may turn on some chill music while you are working from home. I’ve been enjoying Bossa Nova during the day and find that Zoey becomes super chill and falls asleep when I turn it on.
If you prefer to turn on the TV for your pup, make sure that you tune in to DogTV to where animals are usually seen and heard. This way they can hear familiar noises.
Zoey is an intellectual and she actually enjoys Jon Stewart’s voice, so I will YouTube old school Daily Show episodes, so she can listen to her favorite man.
But, this should not be your daily and only option. Time will come and it will bore your pet too.
Make A Huge Ice Cube
Dogs LOVE ice cubes. It’s the strangest fascination! One fun way to keep dog entertained is to give them a frozen toy or treat. All you need to do is place a treat or toy inside a plastic cup. Put water up to the brim and freeze it.
Before you leave for work, leave the frozen treat or toy on the ground. Your dog will be entertained by watching it melt or even melt it by chewing and licking to get the toy or treat inside.
Zoey personally loves this and for a little breath enhancer I’ll add a few drops of mint to the pre-frozen water!
Include Your Pup In Dance Parties + Yoga
Some extra care and attention are also key because if this coronavirus crisis is stressing you out, they’ll feel it, too. If your dog is like Zoey, staying active is muy importante.
Zoey loves when I dance around the house because she knows I am full of joy during these moments. I throw on my ankle and wrist weights put on my favorite gangsta rap station on Spotify and drop it like it’s hot with Zoe Zoe. It’s an easy calorie burn for all parties!
She also pops over while I am doing yoga and loves when I include her in stretches.
If your dog loves napping next to you while you work, have a stack of blankets for snuggling. I also have a candle lit while doing yoga to help create a sense of calm.
Make Bath Time Fun Time!
Don’t you love how you feel after a bath? Welll… Dogs feel the same! Bathe your pup once a week to give them a sense of new. This is especially important if you are still taking your dog for a walk. While it is not certain yet IF COVID-19 spreads through animals, there is no reason for you to take the risk by having your pup trek it in the house.
Bath time will also provide another avenue for fun. It should be a peaceful non-event for your dog. If he is scared when he sees the shampoo bottle come out, then perhaps wiping your dog down will be a better fit.
Zoey loves baths… so here are her bathtime favs:
Hide & Seek with Your Dog’s Toys
I’m sure like Zoey, your pup has a favorite set of toys. If you want to keep your dog entertained, try hiding and rotating the toys in all parts of the house. Since Zoey can’t really see anymore (her retina degeneration is at 20% vision) I’ll hide a few treats with the toys too! This way she can sniff her way to fun.
Hiding toys will keep your dog busy and occupied for a few hours. The trick is finding new places to hide the toys so they don’t catch on 😉
Encourage Natural Foraging Skills
A food puzzle is also a great way to keep your dog busy when you are not at home. You can leave traces of treats and dry food around the house. Spread them anywhere and try to make trails.
I recently purchased a food rug for Zoey where I hide food and treats inside. The rug puts your dog’s nose and brain to work by mimicking the hunt for food in nature. It’s a fun mess free way to bring an outside experience indoors.
Give Your Dog a Way To Peak
Utilize your windows for indoors peaking. Create a space near a window, sliding glass door, or balcony where your dog can sit and stare outside. Omit all the things that may hinder your dog to peak from these avenues. Also, if a window is too high, place dog friendly steps that will enable your dog to reach and the window.
I got Zoey an outdoor lounger for the balcony so she could sit in the sunshine. She looks like a little princess out there!
Fixing Potty Problems
Dogs who live in apartments and who, under normal circumstances, must be walked multiple times a day, as opposed to dogs in other parts of the country who are able to use their private yards. A primary issue for urban dogs who are quarantined with their owners is the inability to go outside to relieve themselves.
So what to do when you are limiting the amount of time outdoors?
Retrain your pup to go on a potty pad on your balcony. To do this, prep for how you would normally go for a potty walk by grabbing a leash, bags and treats. Cue to your dog that this is business as usual, even if it’s on your balcony. Your puppy with get used to going in her new spot after a few sessions.
If you don’t have a balcony, I hate to say it, but your dog may need to start going in the house. It sucks and no one wants that. Just remember this is all temporary.
You can use a relaxing candle to help set the mood for potty time too – a great way to repel the scent while your pup goes.
Like people across the country and around the world whose lives have suddenly been turned upside down by Covid-19, dogs stuck in quarantine may experience stress and even depression. So just like their human companions, pups need increased enrichment and structured play time inside the home.
Hopefully these tips help you create a stimulating environment for your puppy during quarantine! If you have other tips, feel free to hare them below.
Want more ideas?
+ See my Quarantine Master List to stay sane.
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