At first, I thought working from home was going to be awesome. I got my workstation all set up and turned two folding tables into a mega desk and even gave myself a “corner office” (not exactly, I placed my desk near a window). “Wow, this is going to be such a productive work environment” …. Nope. By day three, I realized that my dog, Ollie, thought me being at home meant PLAY, PLAY, PLAY! I needed to manage Ollie’s energy so I could be somewhat productive. While some days are better than others, I have found these 5 tips to tire him out, keep him occupied, and even #DistractNaturally.
1. Get some exercise in before you start to #WFH
Just like humans, dogs need to burn their energy off. An early walk or letting your pup run freely will help reduce stress, anxiety, and will tire them out! It’s a great way to let them get some smells in, release the ‘zoomies’ early, and let them take care of their business. Not to mention, it is a great way to start your day as well.
Off-Leash Trail Walks - With dog parks and beaches closed, it can be difficult to find areas where your dog can roam off-leash. I lucked out and found some walking trails close to home, which works out great because Ollie can run around like a mad man while I walk at a leisurely pace and enjoy my morning coffee. If you are having trouble finding nearby trails try using All Trails.
Fetch - A simple classic but a goodie!
2. Get the Kids Involved
Do you have a high energy dog AND high energy kids? Well you might as well knock out two birds with one stone, right? When I was a kid, I used to run around the house while holding treats and my dog, Moe, would chase me. My parents would always encourage me to do this too. While I didn’t realize it at the time, they were really just trying to tire us both out. A variation of this is to have the kids in different rooms of the house and call the dog! When your dog comes barreling in, you can reward them with a treat before having the next person call their name. This is a great way to practice come-when-called. Mix some staircases in and your dog will get a nice workout out in as well.
3. Tricks, Training, and mentally stimulating Games
Taking your dog for a walk every time they bug you isn’t realistic. Mixing in some games that give them a mental sweat is another way to burn off some of their energy without having to leave your “office”.
Dog Pushups – Jake Belmont from the Red Pointy Dog Trainingtaught me this trick! Turns out you can tell your dog to drop down and give you 20! By giving the commands “Sit” and “Down” in a repeated sequence, you can emulate pushups! I recommend giving treats at random. You can also use dog kibble as well.
Hide and Seek with treats! - Dogs love to “hunt’ and use their sense of smell to find things. By placing treats or chews around the house, you can challenge your dog to find them! You may want to start out with easy hiding spots so you dog understands they are playing a game.
Tug-o-War - A quick game of tug-o-war can be exactly what your dog needs to release a lot of energy in a short amount of time. Tug-o-War can help improve impulse control and is both mentally and physically stimulating. Terrence Kirby from My Dogs Mind has a great video on how to incorporate training while playing tug-o-war, as well as working on releasing the toy.
4. Teach your dog “Place”
Teaching Ollie “place” has been continuous work in progress, however, I have really noticed the benefits of doing this exercise during quarantine. It’s an extremely effective way to help settle him down and stay in one spot. “Place” doesn’t have to be one mat, dog bed, board, or other object either. If you practice “place” on multiple objects, then your dog will understand to stay in that one spot, which can create a lot of flexibility for you. Terrence does a great job explaining how to teach your dog “place.”
5. Distract Naturally!
Chewing is great to keep your dog busy, satisfy those gnawing impulses, and scrub their teeth at the same time! Whether it is for fetch, tug-of-war, or simply chewing, CocoChew’s rope and ball toys offer a sustainable way to #DistractNaturally. All of our toys are made from 100% natural coconut husk that helps scrub dogs’ teeth as they chew!