People are having a hard time adjusting to the new routines of work from home and handling family responsibilities. In the same way, our dogs are finding it difficult to adapt to this change. Reduced exercise and bustling household can affect the behavior of overactive or high-energetic dogs. Fortunately, you can take steps to keep them busy and occupied.
Tips to keep high-energetic dogs busy during social distancing
Stairs, Stairs & Stairs
Running up and down the stairs is a great exercise for your pet. To encourage them to go up and down the stairs, choose their favorite treats. You don’t need to run up and down the stairs but sit on top steps and throw a small piece of treat down. The dog will rush down to collect it. Call them back with another tiny treat. Do this several times, until the dog pants!
Instead of a treat, you can use a ball. If your steps are straight then you can play this game safely. Sit on the top stair with a ball. Toss it down and the dog will run to fetch it and bring it upstairs to you. Repeat this tossing down and him fetching up. It is an exhausting exercise!
Stair climbing and descending is good for dogs because –
- It works on their shoulders, lower back muscles, hips, and legs.
- When they ascend his entire body weight lifts and while going down he has to control the moves as it involves negative muscle contraction.
- Stair exercise is great for correct gaiting and coordination.
- It even offers a great mental exercise because he needs to focus on his leg positions.
However, never push him if you see signs of exhaustion.
Allow the dog to smell his favorite treat. Order them to sit or stay or wait, then hide the treat. Release him saying ‘find it’. Slowly increase the challenge and choose hard places but make sure that he waits in another room after smelling. You can even use his favorite toy to play the find it game.
Change the way you offer them meals. Instead of putting their breakfast or meal in a bowl combine nose work. Hide them around the house. You can divide the food into several bowls and hide each one at different places. It will keep his mind engaged and physically busy because dogs adore sniffing around.
Nosework has its benefits –
- Scientifically, sniffing soothe dogs. When they sniff blood flow towards their brain increases, which calms them down.
- It enhances their problem-solving skills. Several dogs don’t get a chance to use their nose to find food as they are served in a bowl.
- Learning new things will boost their independence and confidence. Many frightened Chihuahuas find exploring exciting instead of terrifying.
- Instead of making the dog run to fetch, it is wise to try nose work. Sniffing and nose work is a powerful combination even for a hyperactive dog. Problem-solving exhausts them!
- Every dog can do nose work, even blind or deaf or three-legged pets. It is a great exercise for old dogs, pets with hip problems, or shy ones.
Run obedience cues to get your pet thinking. Let him wait in the bedroom then call him from the living room. Practice sits and down on a bed or stays sit long. Ensure to reward his actions! You can sharpen stay-proof behavior, which is essential outdoors.
Nevertheless, in the social distancing situation, you can do many things to maintain proof behavior. You can choose to do multiple things like bouncing or rolling a ball close by, sing or clap around your pup, sprinkle treats inside the room, etc.
Adding distraction practice ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ command. The training session must never be for more than 10 minutes. Proofing behavior means the dog understands your command in any kind of setting. If the dog obeys your commands for a little while for example, sits for some time only then don’t reward. Keep practicing the cue until he sits and waits for the reward.
Punishing can stop undesired behavior but the puppy is not aware of what you desire him to do. Harsh behavior causes aggression or fear but positive reinforcement will make him do more. The reward for good behavior and ignorance for misbehavior regularly is the mantra that is understood clearly.
Loose Leash Practice
Similar to stay proofing, you will need to practice loose leash walking indoors. You can go down or up the stairs and take a sudden 90° turn, stop or start suddenly, traverse obstacles, and more. Praise the dog enthusiastically and he will feel thrilled!
Loose leash walking reduces tracheal damage risk due to tugging, yanking, and pulling. Walking dogs becomes easy because they walk loosely and you still can control the direction. If you have not still trained your dog to loose leash walking then this is the best time.
- First, teach him to walk next to you.
- The next step is to attach a training leash to his collar to teach him to walk beside you.
- Teach him to stay beside you rather than rushing ahead.
- After the dog gets associated with walking at your heels, shorten the training leash.
- A dog can find it easy to follow a long leash but when it is not long the task can be challenging.
- After some weeks of short leash training and good behavior, you can use the long leash.
Now, you can teach your dog how to avoid distractions, while they walk loosely. For example, take few steps and stop when there is a distraction like his favorite toy or a stool. It is necessary to train your dog to ignore noises, people, or goes sniffing around. These walks need the dog to think a lot and pay full attention, which mentally exhausts him?
Teach Hard Tricks
Roll over, sit, or fetch are easy tricks that make you smile and even the pets adore performing for you. Difficult dog training tricks need patience but it will help them to develop as well as sharpen their brain functions. It encourages strength, alertness, and agility.
- Tricks like spin, army crawl, sit pretty, and stand tall sound very easy but are difficult.
- Say your prayer position is hard to get accustomed to. The dog sits and puts its front legs forward and drops its head signifying prayer. It takes effort and patience to perform this trick.
- Walking backward, tugging, dancing, and saluting are also some tricks you can add.
- Make him collect garbage and throw it in the dustbin rather than eat it first. It helps to change their thought about garbage.
- For agility training teach him to jump inside a hoop and after he gets skilled at it you can pass the hoop from left to right and right to left. It is a trick that teaches the dog teamwork.
- Choose a proper doormat to teach him to wipe his muddy paws.
- In this stay indoor situation, you can teach your dog to use the toilet. It takes time but is possible.
- Teach them to clean up the toys after playtime.
- Bouncing spritely repeatedly looks amazing and increases the dog’s agility and strength.
There are multiple tricks to teach your canine friend and keep them busy as well as sharpen their skills.
Isolation time is a bonding time with your furry friends. It is a stressful time for everyone, so don’t forget to cuddle your pet. Cuddling a dog offers psychological benefits to both the pet and the owner.