How to keep your dog occupied while working from home
There’s no doubt that the nations dogs will be rejoicing as a result of their humans swapping their daily commute, to a makeshift home-office with just enough foot-space to seat a puppy-eyed-pooch… the perfect place to gain extra attention.
And while there are much lesser enjoyed distractions than interacting with your dog, we understand that hard work means you can play harder! How else could we afford that cute new collar and big fluffy toy that’ll be ripped to shreds in seconds?!
With the latest government guidelines instructing us to stay indoors, yet encouraging us to continue exercise in quiet walking areas where we can avoid bumping into too many other people – for many a’ dog, this is a dream come true.
But with all those additional endorphins pumping around through the excitement, comes a need for an outlet to express such enthusiasm.
As with any forms of enrichment, providing resources should be appropriate according to the health/ fitness level of your dog, as well as their size and cognitive abilities. Remember, games and challenges are only fun if there is a possibility for their completion, or it could lead to frustration.
If in doubt, be sure to supervise your dog with an activity a few times together first, before leaving them to enjoy the fun on their own!
So here are our favourite ways to keep dogs entertained when paired with alone-time:
It sounds simple, but providing your dog with a chew that’ll take some time to get through will help them feel comforted and reduce stress hormones. Think bully-sticks, pigs-ears, wood/root chews, raw bones and rawhides but check with your vet first to find out whether suitable.
Kongs and lick mats
When it comes to lunchtime meals, how about filling up a kong or smearing their food on a lick mat? Freezing before feeding will take them that extra bit longer, savouring the taste and encouraging perseverance. Also, similarly to chewing, licking can help to release endorphins.
Snuffle mats and food puzzles
Hiding treats between fabrics or underneath objects will encourages a dog’s instinctual behaviour of scavenging for food. Start with a snuffle mat and once your dog seems capable, you can increase the level of difficulty by trialling different food puzzle games. There are online shops you can buy from, as well as plenty of resources online if you’d like to learn to create your own.
Similar to the concept of a snuffle mat, just on a larger scale – you can hide treats around the house or around the garden and send your fur-baby off on an adventure! However, if your pooch is on a diet, or isn’t as motivated by food, you can also hide their favourite toys for just as much fun.
Not only a good way to make use of your cardboard recycling, creating a box full of interesting goodies can be hours of fun for your dog. It’s basically the ultimate activity, as you can just fill a big box with all your dogs’ favourite types of enrichment.
We like to fill a big cardboard box, smear a tasty, spreadable food into the corners (i.e. squeezy cheese, peanut butter, liver pate)
Fill an egg box with a variety of treats (think cucumber, broccoli, strawberries, yoghurt, meaty-flavoured bite sized treats, cheese – anything new to your dog might be fun to stimulate their senses and give a choice of preference)
Add in a few toys, some scented towels (infused in advance with dog-friendly scents like lavender, ginger, eucalyptus or even the scent from farm-yard animals or caged pets if you have access to these), stuffed kongs/toilet roll tubes, then fill with shredded newspaper and drop a few treats through.
An added bonus of this activity is that by allowing them an item that is suitable for shredding up with their teeth, it helps to encourage an alternative behaviour as opposed to restricting them if they are partial to a cushion or table leg.
We are continuing to provide the necessary care for our dogs and are still striving to find them a home to call ‘forever’ but are taking all precautions to keep our staff and any members of public we come into contact with, safe.
As always, we are grateful for our supporters and wish you happiness and health during this difficult time for us all.
Keep checking back on the homepage of our website for updates and information on our change of procedures or opening times related to COVID-19.