In these worrying times, some people will prefer to stay completely at home even if they are not officially obliged to isolate, rather than risk contact with irresponsible people ignoring all the social distancing advice,. That’s ok, totally understandable and it needn’t impact adversely on your dog.
I wanted to share some reliable resources and ideas to help you keep your dog fit and well in the absence of walks. If you can go out, even only once or twice a week, it really will do YOU good, but not if it’s going to make you very worried.
A lot of the dogs I work with can’t cope with walks because they are scared by things they might meet – dogs, people, vehicles, noises. These dogs spend extended periods of time never leaving their own house and garden, yet are physically fit and mentally well balanced, so a relatively short period of staying at home will do your dog no harm at all, provided you do other things to entertain them (and yourself).
Scent work is top of my list of fun and valuable activities. Although we can’t at present go to classes or workshops, many trainers are offering their workshops on line now. I especially like this course and there’s 30% off at present, to help out in the current difficult situation.
Animal Centred Education Freework is a fantastic activity for entertaining your dog AND your kids at the same time (get the kids to set up each session, they will be super creative, I guarantee!). It is also a very, very powerful tool for learning about your dog, spotting body tensions and all sorts of other wonders. I must issue a warning, too – it’s addictive (for the humans) This is a good place to start to find information
Canine Parkour is another favourite of mine. It combines physical activity with mental activity, and can be done by dogs of any age. I’m not a fan of competitive animal sports, but you can “compete” if you like by submitting videos. The videos focus on your teaching, how you got the behaviour, more than “can the dog do it” no matter how you “made” the dog. I like that a lot.
This is my favourite book recommendation and is very, very relevant if you’d rather not walk your dog at present. There are endless ideas for fun activities. There is also a Facebook Group run by the author .
None of these activities need you to spend lots of money on equipment, I guarantee you’ll have things around the house you can use immediately (so no worries about going shopping, either)
You can simply replace the time you would normally spend walking your dog with these activities, you’ll both have fun, keep moving and learn lots of useful and interesting things, too.
Morag Sutherland RVN DMS Cert SAN