Pets are a source of comfort and happiness. They give their owners good feelings and a sense of purpose, especially during stressful or difficult times.
And we are, indeed, in stressful times.
In many parts of the world, people are under social distancing or ‘quarantine’ orders to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Maintaining a sense of normalcy in your household can get tricky- especially when you factor in the canine members of your family! Many dogs need stimulation to stay happy and healthy and, quite frankly, to stay out of trouble.
Here, we’ve rustled up some of our favorite family things that you can do with your dog during quarantine.
Note: Every family member’s state of mind should be taken into account. If you have kids at home, help strengthen the bond they share with animals by involving them in these activities!
This one might sound obvious, but worth mentioning. As long as it is compliant with your government’s rules, be sure to get out for a dog walk! Get your daily dose of vitamin D, some natural endorphins, and some fresh air, away from the news and the stress of daily life. Plus, your canine quarantine buddy will get to expel some of their pent-up energy!
Pop some popcorn, grab a warm blanket, and prepare for some serious snuggles. A movie night with your dog is the perfect way to take your mind off of any stress. Often, to dogs, this is just a nice time to cuddle with their family. But sometimes dogs will actually watch the tv with you and get engaged with what’s happening on the screen, especially when they hear familiar sounds. So, why not try a movie starring dogs, to spark your pet’s interest?
Some of our favorite family dog movies include: Marmaduke, Lady and the Tramp, Marley & Me, Beethoven, Bolt, Cats and Dogs, Lassie, 101 Dalmatians, Hotel for Dogs.
Learn your dog’s body language
Dogs are capable of understanding the many of the words we use, and they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. Like any good human friend, a dog will look into your eyes to determine your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking. It’s only fair that you make the effort to better understand your dog’s body language too. Dogs are individuals, and so have their own unique body language. Like any other language, tail wags and facial expressions have a vocabulary and grammar that needs to be understood. They’re communication devices, and with some careful observation, they’ll tell you a little bit about how a dog is feeling. Check out our blog on dog body language here. Give our tips a try and you may be pleasantly surprised at how much of a deeper connection you will feel with your dog almost instantaneously! Your pet will be grateful that you have an insight into their world and together, your bond of companionship will be firmer than before.
A dog’s simple presence, and their willingness to be touched, is viscerally satisfying. Time spent sitting on the couch is massively improved by our dogs’ heads resting on our laps; a warm muzzle directed at us can be instantly calming.
Yoga and mindfulness have garnered tremendous interest over the past decade. Yoga ‘balances, harmonizes, purifies and transcends’ the body and mind of the practitioner. Dog yoga, or doga, aims to combine these relaxation virtues provided by yoga and pet companionship. It can create a harmony and synchronization of energy flow between you and your dog. Try out this dog yoga class from the comfort and safety of your own home!
If you’re not quite ready for doga, that’s ok! Perhaps one of the greatest psychological benefits of interacting with a dog is the opportunity it provides to be more mindful. What could be more conducive to walking meditation than going out with your dog?
Resist the urge to do your daily walk on autopilot and instead, use this time as opportunity to connect with your pet and the natural world around you. Experience the nature surrounding both of you by engaging your senses fully. Gently bring your attention to your dog’s delight at being with you, it is a great lesson on how to stay in the moment.
Give Your Pet a Bath
Some dogs love the attention that comes with bath time. Others would rather skip the bath altogether! Regardless, regular baths are an essential part of ongoing grooming and good hygiene. Baths help remove visible dirt your dog earned through walks through natural environments. In addition to keeping your dog’s coat clean, bathing also helps keep them healthy and free from parasites. And of course, there’s the added benefit of making your pooch smell more pleasant!
It’s a good idea to give your pet a bath, especially if you cannot get to your regular groomer. Check out our blog here to discover the best shampoo for your pet and read up on how to properly bathe your pup here.
When dogs get bored they can develop some destructive tendencies. So, it’s crucial, even if you have to spend more of your time indoors, that you are doing whatever you can to help them maintain their physical and mental well-being. An active, mentally challenged dog will make for a thriving, happy, and less destructive companion.
You’ll need to come up with some interactive activities, engaging games and dog toys to enjoy together. This will create good communication, help your dog focus, and foster a sense of teamwork and belonging.
Can’t get outside?
If your dog desires to look out of the window, it’s suggested that you let them. To a dog, looking out the window decreases boredom and is a great distraction. Many dogs love to sleep in the sunlight in front of windows. So, if you can, make sure your dog gets a nice view.
Honouring, reinforcing, and increasing the bond between you and your dog will help you both. Be affectionate, supportive, interactive and fun, because that’s what dog ownership is all about. Whatever you find to do, we hope that you experience the comfort and unconditional love that our pets have to offer!
We are all sheltering in place differently, and we acknowledge that it is a significant privilege to be able to spend quarantine doing these fun activities. A big thank you to the healthcare workers, food service employees, utility workers and delivery personnel, among others, who work tirelessly to keep our society running.