With everything being shut down around us, humans are starting to get a little stir crazy, so most of you have turned to trying to amuse your dog. Some are having success while others, others being dogs, really don’t want to pick-up what you’re laying down. So here are some things to think about during your quarantine period that will enhance your relationship with your dog vs smothering it.
- Enrichment: Enrichment is improving the quality or value of something. Your dog to lead a healthy life needs some form of enrichment in their day to keep them sharp and motivated, quarantine or not. A common go to is filling a Kong product and giving it to your dog. Think more of the lines of puzzles or challenging your dog in one of their daily activities. For more on enrichment please visit our IGTV channel and watch the video I provided on enrichment for some DIY projects you can do at home.
- Space: I have seen several memes of the dogs being exhausted from having their family home after the millionth walk. This is a no go. The quarantine will end and we will all have to go back to our daily lives and then what will your dog do? Develop separation anxiety? Be bored as they’re not receiving enough stimulus like previous months? Teaching a dog to have quiet time away from the family should be a priority each day. Creating space, like any relationship is healthy vs. creating a codependency. This time of course doesn’t have to replicate your typical work day, but some alone time will do good for both parties and will save a lot of heartache for when the day comes and you do have to go to work.
- Schedule: Set up a time or times to work exclusively with your dog. Meaning you have a game plan in mind and are actually going to perform a training session with a goal. All this down time allows us to start building a healthy relationship with our that you have always wanted. Work on engagement, work on eye contact, loose leash walking, etc. Make a training plan accordingly and build off of it. If you go into working with your dog without a plan, quickly you will build frustration in either parties. Lay it out and work together. Don’t forget to play together when learning. Play will build motivation and keep your dog interested.
- Attention: Because your home all the time doesn’t mean you need to give your attention away for free. Meaning enforce boundaries and the rules you have had in place before. Don’t sit there and talk to your dog nonstop or pet them until all their fur falls out. No, make them earn that! Your attention is worth so much and caveating off previous points, giving away your attention for free A.) creates an unhealthy relationship and B.) You’re losing value to yourself as your dog always has access to you and your opposable thumbs. Enforce rules and enforce boundaries….in short don’t smother your dog.
With that being said remember being interesting and consistency will make a night and day difference in yours and your dog’s relationship. Don’t overdo it and don’t underdo it, as this is the perfect opportunity to grow together when faced with rough times. Because let’s be honest, life is so much better with a dog. Just something to think about.