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Covid-19: How to keep your dog active and entertained on lockdown


As the COVID-19 pandemic response puts our lives on lockdown, everyone’s routines are thrown off track. That includes our dogs, who may feel stressed or frustrated if playtime or dog daycare are restricted.

We can still make sure they get the physical and mental exercise they need just by being a little creative. And the ADAPTIL team has come up with these tips to keep your pup frisky and happy during this difficult time.

Puzzle / activity feeders and toys

These are great ways to keep your dog amused and active. Canine favorites like Kong toys, LickiMats, and Snuffle Mats are all examples of tools designed to entertain and sooth your dog.

Teach new tricks & behaviors!

New tricks can be fun for your dog to learn while keeping them mentally stimulated. It’s also a boost to the human-dog bond as you spend time together and learn from one another. Make it fun!


● Put little bits of food all over the house and take your dog on a treasure hunt

● Experiment with scents like lavender, which can both calm your dog and intrigue his super-sniffer.

● High five is a fun game for dogs and kids to play together.

● Hide and seek can utilize your dog’s scenting ability and give him exercise at the same time.

If you’re teaching your dog new tricks, we want to see! Share your stories on Facebook with us and use #adaptilathome!


Food Games

These can be a great way to encourage your dog to be a bit more active for their food, both mentally and physically. Swap their food bowl for a food puzzle toy or scatter their food in outside in the yard.

You could even put their food inside empty plastic bottles or cardboard boxes that have small holes in them. Hide treats in towels or Snuffle Mats, or toss them around a room and let your dog explore and find them by using their nose. You can use their normal kibble if they eat dry food and you’re worried about overfeeding. Scatter-feeding is fun outside in long grass, as they’ll have to use their nose and mind.


Long lasting chews

Chewing isn’t only a good distraction, but can help dogs lower anxiety and relieve frustration. You can purchase a long-lasting chew or consider using a frozen Kong filled with peanut butter, frozen chicken stock or yogurt to help them relax. Chewing and licking are both self-soothing for dogs.


Slow walking

Going on a slow dog walk and having lots of breaks or stops allows your dog to explore, smell the fascinating scent enriched environment and entertain themselves. There is so much to investigate on a walk, and you can encourage this by dropping their favorite toys or treats. You can also use this time to practice good behaviors such as loose lead walking. Reward your dog for voluntary check ins or being calm and collected around other people or dogs. Keep yourself interesting so your dog will happily give you their attention.


Nervous behaviors

During this time at home you could work on some of the nervous behaviors your dog shows:

1) Habituation or desensitization - An example of habituation training would be playing YouTube videos or recordings of unfamiliar sounds on low volume while pairing them with positive experiences like treats and toys. Reward the dog for any calm or normal behaviors while the noises are playing. When the dog is in a calm, happy, and comfortable state (but not sleeping), slowly increase the volume. If you observe any signs of fear or anxiety, go back to the previous volume and give them more time to adjust.

2) Socialization - Use this time to get your dog used to unfamiliar sights and experiences. Raid your closet for anything unusual they might come across when life gets back to normal, like hats, scarves, or sunglasses. Reward relaxed behaviors and be sure not to let your dog experience fear or stress.

If visitors are a worry for your dog, if there’s more than one of you at home, you can practice the knock or doorbell ringing by one of you going outside and pretending to be a visitor to get them used to the sounds. Remember to reward the dog for being calm.

3) Husbandry training - Think about any training that would help your dog when you go back to work, such as settling on their bed/crate, overtime build up distance and time away.

Consider training your dog to become more accustomed to handling and grooming. For example, you could desensitize your dog to having their feet handled or ears examined.

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If you’re staying home with your dog, share your stories on Facebook with #adaptilathome!

Stay safe!

The ADAPTIL team



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