Keeping Woody Occupied During a Lockdown

Keeping Woody Occupied During a Lockdown

One week in and I’m sure my dog Woody is longing for a day at home by himself. It is hard to get some peace and quiet with a tiny human charging around the house all day long!

I have been taking Woody for short street walks but adhering to the rules:

  • We walk with Woody on leash at all times 
  • We have been crossing the road when another person is approaching to always maintain social distancing 
  • We only walk with those within our isolation bubble i.e. myself, my husband and our toddler
  • We have been avoiding touching surfaces while out and about e.g. bench seats, rubbish bins, and the like. 
  • There are a lot of differing opinions around whether dog fur, collars and leashes can hold virus droplets so we have not let Woody, much to his dismay, off leash to run around with his friends at the park or even have play dates

We have let Woody sniff EVERYTHING! Dogs gather all their information by sniffing and it is great mental exercise for them. I have been walking Woody on a 2m leash so I don’t have to stop as often for him to have a good sniff. This has definitely helped keep him calm at home. 

However, pre-lockdown Woody was used to at least one hour of exercise each day and two days a week at daycare. Needless to say he does have a bit of excess energy at the moment. Also my arm is very tired from throwing the ball all day long! I’ll have nicely toned biceps shortly

To combat the decrease in his exercise we have been doing lots of activities at home:

  • Scattering frozen peas and corn kernels in the backyard for him to snuffle for. This bought me a good 30 minutes of nag-free time to have a coffee. 
  • Played ‘find it’. I shut Woody out on the deck and hid tiny cubes of cheese (smaller than my pinky finger nail) in various places in our lounge and hallway – on the tv shelving unit, on the arm of the couch, scattered along the skirting in the hallway, underneath the toddler table, even in his bed. I then let him back inside to go ‘find it’
  • Created a snuffle box for dinner time. I filled a medium sized box with smaller boxes (some with food and some without), toilet rolls, toys, and scrunched up paper towels and his food mixed in there. He really had to work to find all the pieces of his kibble!
  • Kibble and liver treat ice cubes – these have been great on the warmer days! 
  • Short training sessions: 10 minutes of tricks or 10 minutes of sit, stay, wait etc, 10 minutes of target training. Just short and fun sessions, usually working on something new or building on what he already knows to work his brain. 
  • Hidden pockets of his dinner on an egg tray under tennis balls. A muffin tray produces the exact same result if you don’t have an old egg tray

If you follow our Facebook pages, you will also see ideas posted by other members of the CCC team as well. This will continue as long as the lockdown is on as staff at home also need to entertain our dogs. 

Ditch the bowl’ is a great initiative and serves to get owners to ditch the standard dog food bowl for a more enriching feeding method for their pooch. My goal for self isolation is to ditch the bowl for one meal every day. So far it’s been fun for me to create ways for Woody to eat his food and he has certainly enjoyed the change and the challenge that these activities bring for him. His favourite food dispenser is his Kong Wobbler so we have been using that a lot, along with some of the feeding methods mentioned above.

There are some fantastic ideas on the Canine Enrichment Facebook Page. This has people all over the world posting their home made enrichment ideas for feeding their dog.

For more ideas and inspo you can also follow our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CompleteCanineCareNZ

And remember stay safe, stay home!