If there was someone who was happy with the pandemic, it must be our pet dogs. They saw their favourite humans 24×7, showed up unexpectedly on video calls and binged with us while we caught up on our favourite shows and movies. However, with organisations asking employees to restart working from offices, pets may get more demanding as they will stop receiving their hourly dosage of belly rubs.
Srikanth Shankar, a canine consultant is of the opinion that a lot of pet dogs were welcomed into homes during the pandemic and have spent a lot of time with their owners. He believes that training the dogs to be alone for short periods of time in safe enclosed spaces such as a pen, crate or dedicated room can help in preparing them for when their owners have to head back to work. Srikanth adds, “It will take some time for your pets to get used to this new situation. What can be helpful is ensuring that you give them enough play time. Mental stimulation and physical exercise can tire them and they will also get the attention they crave for. Remember that playtime at home also means that the home should be safe for your pet to move around. Speaking about safe environments, ensure that you use a floor cleaner like Nimyle which makes the floor safe for your pets to lounge on, where they don’t come in contact with harmful chemicals. Also, make sure, that there are no sharp objects around and free up the space when you want to play with them.”
Here are some of the ways in which you can keep your pet engaged:
• Obstacle Course- Use empty cartons, pipes, bottles to create an obstacle course for your pet. Create a zone where they can jump over a few hurdles that are made of containers, bottles or even toilet paper rolls and pass through tunnels made from carton boxes or hoola hoops. At the end of the obstacle, give them a treat to reinforce the behaviour. You can make it more challenging by increasing the height or adding various other obstacles. Check with a pet trainer to understand the right obstacles and hurdles for your pet, depending on their age and breed
• Bowl challenge- Sharpen your dog’s sniffing skills by placing their favourite treat under an upside down bowl. Add 2 more bowls, shuffle them and let your pet sniff out the one with the treat. This game stimulates them mentally and they will be more than happy to look for their favourite treat
• Treasure hunt- Leave treats for your pet to discover around the home. See them chase down the hallways to sniff and enjoy their favourite snack
• Toss the treat- This is fetch but with a slight modification. Throw the treat from one end of the room to another and race with your pet across the room to see who catches it first. This game will physically exhaust your furry friend and might just give you a bit of exercise too!