What a strange few weeks it has been...
I'll be honest, when I first heard of COVID-19, I was sceptical, I was the one saying, "it'll blow over soon enough, it's just another flu".
How wrong I was...
In the past fortnight or so, it has really hit us as a nation, even as a species, and after upping my cleanliness within the business and putting out a rigid safety protocol with all clients, it seemed destined to come to this point.
So we are currently in Lockdown, but what does that mean for us and our beloved companions? Yes sure, we can have one walk a day, but for those of us with high energy dogs that need the exercise, what the hell are we going to do now?
What if I was to tell you that dogs do not need walks everyday? There are other ways to tire our pooches out, without risking the spread of infection. Your dog is a walking surface for the virus to attach to, so exposure to the environment is really not the safest option. You don't need fancy equipment, or fancy training tools. All you need is some enthusiasm, some focus from your dog, and maybe even a few tasty treats wouldn't go amiss!
Below I am going to give you some handy tips to help you along the way in these uncertain times. We shouldn't look on this segregation as a punishment, but in fact look at it as an opportunity to develop that bond with our new puppy, re-establish a connection with our crazy canine, or even just enjoy some sofa time with our golden oldie.
I for one have nothing better to do than enjoy my best friends' time.... maybe finally sort my office/garden/shed out, finish that bit of decorating I never did finish, or organise my sock drawer... but wouldn't we rather be spending time with our furry friends?
So let me ask you, are there any issues you face with your dog that you've been meaning to sort out for ages? Maybe you hate the fact that walks with your dog are literally a pain? You get dragged to the local park, only for your dog to run off when you let them off, and rarely do they come back when you call them? Do you have a new pup that needs some socialisation? They need to get to know the world they live in, but how will we do that without leaving the house?
Why not work on those things, while we have the chance? That way, when this is all over and we start to venture outside again, we can do so with a new vigour in our step, a new outlook on our time together, and a calm adventure to the park?
Stimulation for dogs comes in many forms, fun training sessions being the most tiring. When we train, our dogs become mentally tired, and this is far more efficient than letting them become over aroused by running around chasing a ball, for example. They learn new skills, become a better behaved dog, and a more integral part of our family when we train. They love to learn as when we reward them with what they love, they want to do it more and more.
Stimulating activities, don't always have to be physical, they can also be mentally draining. Mental stimulation can include Scentwork. This includes teaching a dog to FIND treats when asked to, we simply drop treats by our feet and ask the dog to "FIND IT", if you get really into you can unleash your CrazyDogLady and get super excited about "finding" the handful of tasty treats you just found in that little corner of the garden ;-) As your dog becomes accustomed to the fact that you saying "FIND IT" means there are treats to be had, you can hide them further and further away from you, then they really have to engage their sniffy brains... which in turn drains that boundless doggy energy.
A great physical activity to play with your dog is TUG. Think of this as a HIIT session for your pooch, 30-60 seconds of high energy, power tuggy game will really tire your dog, just be careful not to send them into overdrive or they will become whirlwinds! A great way to calm your dog down appropriately after a HIIT session is a nice long session of "FIND IT"
This should really help your dog to bust that boredom and stop them from becoming self-employed, i.e destroying or chewing up your house!
I may not be dog walking at the moment, but I am holding online training sessions for people who want to get involved, teach their dogs some cool tricks, get into Dog Parkour, or work on those issues I mentioned. If you would like more information on these events and the times and costs, just head on over to www.facebook.com/MichellesCanineCare and see what I can do for you!
See you on the inside!
Take Care everyone and Stay Safe