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Indoor games and exercises to do with your dog when self-isolating

Before the Coronavirus pandemic changed the way we spend our free time, you were probably like me and took great pleasure in playing and exercising with your dog outside. Now, the lockdown has us all in the same boat, exploring the great indoors and struggling to keep ourselves and our pets entertained.

If you live in an apartment and you’ve already exhausted all playtime ideas with your pet and wonder what to do next. Dogs are incredibly intelligent creatures and, without proper physical and mental stimulation, they can become bored, sad, and destructive. Here are a few indoor games and exercises that can keep your dog entertained and maybe even give you a little pick-me-up when self-isolation gets you down.

Treasure hunt

Did you know that our dogs’ sense of smell is 40 times greater than ours because they have over 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses? However, dogs who spend most of their time indoors often forget how to use this incredible superpower because they don’t get to use it as much as in nature. Here’s a fun way to remind them what amazing things they can do: plan a little treasure hunt.

Take an object your dog loves (it can be anything from a tasty treat to their favourite toy) and hide in a closed container. Then, place several other containers around it, mix them up, and encourage your dog to give each a sniff – soon, they’ll sense the prize hidden in the box and indicate it to you. When they do, praise and reward them. Don’t worry if your puppy is a little clumsy and inexperienced at first. With practice, they’ll get better at sniffing, and they’ll be able to work out complex hidden treasure puzzles.

Stairway dash

Do you have an active dog that’s been suffering from the sudden decrease in outdoor walks? While we can’t give you a substitute for fresh air, we can offer you a fun idea that burns a lot of energy and keeps your dog in shape: stairway dash. For this exercise, all you have to do is run with your dog up and down the stairs, using toys and treats as encouragement. However, this exercise is only for healthy adult dogs. Senior dogs and young puppies who haven’t developed strong joints yet can get hurt if they stumble or fall down the stairs.

Clean-up time!

Does your dog tend to leave their toys lying around after playing with them? You’re not alone. Fortunately, you can use self-isolation as an opportunity to teach your dog new tricks, including how to pick up their own toys. This exercise has two parts: first, you need to teach them how to pick up on an object, if they don’t know already. Second, you scatter various toys on the floor, instruct them to pick them up and point them in the direction of the toy basket. In the end, don’t forget to reward your dog by petting them and using treats. With enough practice, your dog will clean up the floor after playtime!

Article by Derek from Finchley Dog Walker

This is a guest blog by one of our many animal community friends. It has not been written by The Finchley Vet staff. We love to showcase other people's work as we think it makes things more interesting for you, our readers, however, it does mean that we have not checked any of the facts and any opinions are those of the author and not of the Finchley Vet, or Local Vet Ltd.

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