Your dog is sooo happy right now. I know you know what I’m talking about. If you normally go into an office for work, you being home all of the time is a huge change in their world. They want your attention, they want to do stuff with their human who they never see during the day! If you need some ideas for what to do with your dog, we’ve got 5 suggestions to get you started.
1. Go On a Walk
One of the best ways to really bond with your dog is to take her for a walk. Not all dogs love to walk, but I have found that most of them really do like to get out and sniff, and a daily routine helps them get rid of pent up energy, making them calmer companions at home. Getting outdoors improves your mood and gets you up and moving around as well. If you can get out of the house more than once a day with your dog, that is even better. Can’t get away? Consider hiring a professional dog walker to come to your home and take your pup for a walk when you are unable.
2. Play Games
Some dogs love to play games, like tug-of-war with a favorite rope, or fetch in the backyard with a ball. But there are other games you can play that can be fun indoors. My favorite is a game called, “Find It.” Start out by putting your dog in a different room and keeping him there until you are ready to release him. Then, put small treats around the room in plain sight for him to find. You can use toys for this if you don’t want to give your dog treats, especially if you want to play on a daily basis.
Then release your dog and let him sniff out the treats. If the first round is too easy, start putting the treats in less obvious places and make him really hunt to find them. You can increase the difficulty as he gets good at finding the treats. I have put them in shoes, under furniture, in the middle of a set of stairs, and even on tables and chairs (when the dog is large enough to easily reach them).
Similar to Find It, is Hide and Seek. It is more easily accomplished with two people, but it can be done with just one as well. One person could hold the dog while the other person hides. Or, you could put the dog in a room with a treat and the door almost all the way closed (but could be pushed open by the dog), and hide and wait for him to push the door open and find you.
3. Trick or Treat!
Another fun way to spend quality time with your dog (or cat!) is to teach her some new tricks! There are several good positive-reinforcement training videos on YouTube to show you some of the fun things you can teach your dog or cat to do. We’ve put a few of the ones we like below:
4. Snuggle Time
I don’t know many dogs or cats that don’t like to snuggle with their person (I could probably count them on one hand). So this is a no-brainer. You find yourself with some extra time on your hands lately, so you’re watching more TV or doing work from your couch. Snuggling with your pet has many benefits – lowering stress and heart rate, increasing the bond between you and your pet, and making the both of you happier. The only downside to snuggle time is the total lack of productivity or motivation to do anything else!
5. Ideas to Occupy
If you’ve already done all of the above and just want to happily occupy your pup while you handle an important conference call or appointment? Here are some ideas of things you can give him:
- Chew treats, like bully sticks,
- Peanut butter smeared on the shower wall (easy to clean!) or a LickMat,
- Freezing a Kong or other food caching toy that is stuffed with peanut butter and treats (or soft dog food if you don’t want to give him the extra calories),
- Treat puzzles and other interactive toys
I understand that most of these are food-oriented, but what can I say? DOGS LOVE FOOD. Frozen Kongs need to be prepared in advance (obviously), but the others can be pulled out and given to your dog when you need them to be distracted. Set them up in their comfy crate with a bully stick or a frozen Kong, and get back to business.
You being home right now is the best thing to happen in your dog’s world. Cats are still on the fence, lol. Either way, now is a good time to go play with your best fur friend!
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