Dogs During Lockdown

Dogs During Lockdown Covid-19Dogs During Lockdown Covid-19

beneficialDogs During lockdown

We don’t hear a lot about Covid-19 lockdown and Dogs unless it is relating to the transmission of the virus. Some people may say we have more important things to deal with, like saving the lives of people. I believe we owe our dogs during lockdown as much protection during this time.

Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on all of us and will do for the foreseeable future. We cant turn on the TV or radio or look at any media without seeing something relating to Covid-19. This article is one of those, and I have put off writing this article. In the end, I decided I would write about Covid-19 and our dogs. We frequently hear pets spread the virus, but we don’t hear about how we can look after our dogs during these difficult times.

First, I have to say this; Check what restrictions there are in your local area and adhere to them.

Initially, I would suggest that you look at your dogs usual routine and try to build a new one around that. For example, if you usually have a set time in the morning that you walk your dog before going to work, stick to that time. Doing this is beneficial for your dog and you. It is easy to change your way of life when you are working from home, whether it is temporary or permanent. For some, it is a great way to stop you from staying in bed too late or help you start your working day at home.

Locked Down With Your Dog.

I can’t think of any better situation during the lockdown, having my dog with me makes it easier and more relaxing. We have been allowed to walk our dog once a day for exercise, but what else can we do to help our dogs manage the change and deal with the stress and anxiety they may experience.

Indoor Games.

Indoor games for dogs can be split down further and implemented to assist our dogs.

Dogs during Lockdown Games

Free Play.

The easiest is “Free Play”. Give your dog a pile of “Stuff” with which to play. You can include toys of their own as well as toilet roll tubes and empty cardboard boxes. Make sure that packaging has no staples or tape attached to them that may harm them or have had any contents that could physically hurt (Burn), make sick or kill your pet. You then let the dog play with the articles. Some dogs will shred cardboard, and you will need to tidy it up. You will need to decide if this is suitable as play for your dog if it rips and shred household items, as it may encourage more bad behaviour. I would only use this randomly and not to occupy the dog on its own.

Owner/Dog Play.

Try and allocate some time where you will play with your dog. If you are at home during the day, try and spend time playing with your dog. It only needs to be a couple of minutes, and I find myself talking with Beau as we play, it is great to be able to have a conversation without anyone answering back. Games you play with your dog only need to be simple such as fetch.

Learn Tricks.

During the lockdown, it is a great time to train your dog. There may be some basic training you want to work on, and that is great. To make this more fun, I would suggest teaching your dog some tricks. There are plenty of books available that explain how to breakdown teaching tricks. Some may even be useful, such as fetching you the post when it arrives.

Scent Work Games.

Scent work is an excellent way to exercise your dog’s brain and entertain them. We all know that a dog has far superior capabilities when it comes to finding things via smell. It has been said that 5 minutes scent work is equivalent to a dog running around for 15 to 20 minutes. If you are in self-isolation or wanting to give your dog more to do, then I highly recommend Scentwork. a Talking Dogs Book. Talking Dogs Scentwork is the book I started to learn this type of training. It is an excellent book which is written in an easy way to understand and follow.

Treasure Hunt.

Letting your dog have a Treasure Hunt is the easiest way to start a dog with scent work. All you need to do is hide their favourite treat around a room or the garden and encourage them to find them. The reward is they can eat what they find. Doing this outdoors can make the game more challenging because there are a lot more smells and other distractions. This is an easy game to start with, and dogs love it.

Scent work.

Scent work has developed into a sport as well as used by various law enforcement agencies to detect drugs, firearms, money etc. In your home, you can train your dog to find most things. I have a small soft toy mouse scented with catnip. Other people use clothing, their dogs favourite cheese or treat. You start by training the dog to find very easy finds and slowly develop your dog’s skills until it finds what you have hidden wherever

Sleep and Relaxation.

Dogs During Lockdown

Beau decided she would sleep at my feet during lockdown

If your dog is used to being alone for part of the day, it probably spends some of that time sleeping and relaxing. Give your dog a place and opportunity to be alone and relax and sleep if it wants to. As I am writing this article, Beau is one a dog bed lying at my feet. It is important that during the lockdown, dogs have the freedom to do their own thing. If they have a midday sleep, let them whilst you are working from home. They may want to be alone at this time, or they may want to be near to you.

Make sure your dog has access to their bed, crate or a den. Make sure there is a safe place that your dog can wander off too when they feel like going to sleep or relax for a little while.  I took these pictures of Bea as she sleeps at my feet. She wanted to sleep there, so I brought her bed to where I was working, and she is spending time sleeping and grooming herself. Every so often she will give me a nudge, and we will play ball for a while.

Food.

During the lockdown, we need to ensure our dogs are well fed but not overfed. During the initial lockdown, there was a shortage of some dog food due to people stockpiling resources. If you are ever in a position where you think you might not be able to purchase the regular food your dog eats, prepare early. Get your new food sooner than you need, and mix some with your everyday food. Feeding this to your dog and adding a little more of the new food each time will decrease the chances of your dog getting an upset stomach. Ideally, try and maintain the same food for your dog.

More Treats?

When you are at home more, or even full time, you spend more time with your dog, and it is easy to start giving your dog more treats. The increase in treats can come from more training and some by giving more titbits to your dog when you are eating.  Never feed titbits to your dog, and keep an eye on their weight. Monitoring diet and weight isn’t something just for the lockdown; it is about having a healthy dog.

When you are training your dog, make sure you use small treats. If you can make sure they are low fat treats. If you split your training into short periods, you shouldn’t have a problem with weight gain. Make sure that you only give these treats when you are training your dog. The message your dog should learn is that the treats are a reward; from you for completing a task.

13 thoughts on “Dogs During Lockdown Covid-19”

  1. Daniella says:

    Hi there,

    First, thank you for this useful article. I really appreciated it.

    I had two dogs, but one of them passed away a few weeks ago, during the lockdown. So it’s tough for my dog now, especially during the Coronavirus. I am trying to play with him and go out as much as possible, but he seems depressed. Is there something you would recommend doing? I am afraid he is losing his mind. He still eats and drinks, but he is not as happy as he used to. I am sorry, this has nothing to do with the subject of the article, but I really some helps.

    Thank you!

    1. Nic Castle says:

      Hi Daniella, Thank you for reaching out. I hear this a lot and I have experienced it as well with my own dogs. It is tough for you and your dog. You are doing most things already, Playing and going out with his, generally keeping him company. Don’t be afraid to leave him alone at times. Initially keep this time for short periods and build the time up. You don’t want the dog to become more attached to you and develop separation anxiety. You may find this article I wrote useful Click here to find out more about separation anxiety. The important thing is to try and spend time to help lift his mood and play. This can be indoor or out and should be their favourite. Alternatively, I would suggest teaching him something new where he earns treat he really likes or finally start teaching him scent work. This is a way to motivate your dog to occupy them and it tires them. If you would like more information please contact me and we can chat over a messaging service. All is free, just ask. Alternatively, sign up for the news letter and get a free session.

      Castle

  2. Roy says:

    Thank you for a great article about our best friends during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a lovely Japanese Spitz, called Nemi. She is a fantastic and playful dog, which has noticed that there are some changes in daily life due to the pandemic. 

    We have not been impacted that much in our routines with her, as I am working for the government and my wife is working as a health worker. We have only had two weeks of quarantine when the pandemic hit our country in March.

    We have some games indoors with paper, socks and gloves. Further, we do the scent game. hiding away her favourite treats. She loves it. We have access to some wide-open outdoor fields wit few people as well, which makes it easy to take her out and having fun with outdoor games.

    The suggestions for activities are very good and work great at least with our dog. Your dog Beau seems to enjoy himself relaxing at your feet

    Roy

    1. Nic Castle says:

      Thank you for your reply Nemi seems a lucky, loved dog.

  3. Maddie says:

    Having a dog during the pandemic lockdown was the best thing that happened to me. I could feel myself losing my sanity before hand. but with my dog, I was able to stay focused and keep on doing everything I wanted to do because I got a companion in my dog. Surely a good post you have shared here

  4. Diane says:

    I love this post! You have really touched on a subject that is quite important to anyone with a dog or thinking of adding one to the family. During the Covid19 era, our family is home even more than normal (and we are usually home a lot anyway as we work from home) and our pets are simply enjoying the extra attention! We’ve done additional training and grooming and just spent those extra hours with them. They love it. 

    The one issue that the lockdown caused was a lack of socialization with the outside world. I have two that I am training for specialized skills and that is an issue at the moment. However, with the extra training I’ve done at home, I think they will manage the transition when I am able to again take them in public (they can go now, of course, but I am in a high-risk category, so not traveling).

    The games you mention are great, too. I’ll be sharing this article with my community. 

    1. Nic Castle says:

      Hi Diane, Beau is an assistance dog and is amazing. Socialising your dog is so important., especially when you are training specialised skills. I am sure you will do great socialising your dogs and you will have a great time doing it.

  5. Lisa says:

    This is excellent information on how to keep your dog entertained during lockdown. They get bored and lethargic just like humans do. I love the idea of teaching the dog to do tricks bringing me my slippers would be awesome every morning. It is very important not to over feed your dog. The information in this post will help a great deal of pet owners.

    I have been doing a lot of things that you have suggested during the lockdown with my dog and we have both found it to be good fun.

    1. Nic Castle says:

      Thanks for the reply. Bringing people slippers is one of the most common skills I get asked about and people want their dogs to do.

  6. Joy@dog’healthmatters says:

    Hi! I smiled imagining you talking to your dog and it’s not answering back.  I also have my dog and I love talking to her. He may not be able to talk to me verbally but she has her own way of responding to what I am saying.

    This CoVid Lockdown in our place restricted or usual movement for quite some times but it’s a little okay now.  But for safety purposes, I am not going out as often as before.., same with my dog, of course.  Will try these games you listed in here.  Surely would help my dog be a little less bored since she is so used of going out. Thanks.

    1. Nic Castle says:

      Dogs are great to talk with, Beau also answers in her own way. She can be very forceful when she wants something

  7. Rick Lim says:

    Hello Nic, I really enjoyed reading and learning a great deal from your article ‘Dogs During Lockdown Covid-19’.
    I appreciate that you gave an in-depth review of each of them, explaining how they work.
    I am sure your hard work will pay off as a lot of people will realize what a pet dog depicts.

  8. Hima Ide Hassane says:

    En tout cas le covid19 a bouleversé se monde et a changée beaucoup de mode de vie que se soit pour l’homme ou pour l’animal. Pour l’animal ce verrouillage est vue comme une obstruction a son mode de vie sa l’empêche de mieux vivre et le faire aussi d’être toujours en présence des être humain dans la même maison que lui aussi ne l’aide pas parce-que il a habitude de escoité la maison a lui seul 

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