So you’re self-quarantined, you’re out of Netflix shows you “want” to watch, you don’t want to go to the dog park, your dog has the zoomies and they have destroyed all the new toys… what to do? Here’s some games you can play with your best friend to get off the couch and get some of that great puppy bonding time!
Hide and Seek This game may start with teaching your dog how to sit and stay. Start by having him sit and stay while you place a favorite toy (squeaky ones are a favorite in our house) where he can see it, but away from him (like across the room). Use your release word (ours is “OK”) and let him go fetch the toy, making sure to allow enough time to celebrate the reward of waiting patiently, by dancing around with his toy in his mouth. You can make this game more and more complicated, incrementally, by moving further and further away with the toy, around a corner, to another room, up a flight of stairs and eventually by hiding the toy in places where your dog could eventually find it. When hiding the toy, think about a child’s Easter egg hunt. Don’t make it too hard, you do want your dog to be successful, eventually!
Keep Away There are many variations on this game. With two people, you can simply toss a toy or ball back and forth to each other, letting your dog chase it in each direction. We’ve even gone as far as to use tennis rackets and a tennis ball in the garage, for greater distance. Be sure to “accidentally” drop the ball once in a while, to keep your dog a part of the game.
Agility Training You can get very creative at home with simple props, like a hula hoop. Start by using a piece of kibble to coax your dog to walk through the hoop, as it rests on the floor. Once your dog is used to walking through the hoop on ground level, lift it off the ground one inch at time. By the end of a very rainy week, you might have your pal leaping through the hoop a couple of feet off the ground!
Puzzles and Toys There are many treat-dispensing and puzzle toys on the market for dogs now. These toys are mentally challenging, requiring your dogs to ‘figure out’ how to get the treat out from it’s hiding spot. Look for sturdy toys that will withstand heavy chewing.
Fetch A hallway with doors closed makes for a perfect runway for a game of fetch. A straight stairwell does, too. Use a plush ball or toy to avoid the ball going in all directions and to get the most distance out of running to fetch.
Mental and physical exercise are both an important part of your’s and your dog’s health. It’s fun, relieves boredom, and can be extremely bonding for the both of you!
In order to be healthy, whether human or canine, one must do regular grooming. Dogs, not unlike teenagers, may need a little gentle coaxing, but will benefit greatly from simple at-home regular grooming. The more often you groom, the more conditioned they get to the treatment (literally and figuratively!), so start early and lather, rinse and repeat often.
Brush your dog’s fur.
This seems like a simple step, but it’s important. Many dogs simply love the attention that regular gentle brushing gives them. Dogs with undercoats benefit greatly by regular brushing, especially in the spring and summer when they are shedding their winter fur. Brushing a dog is not unlike brushing your own head, in that it helps spread natural oils and loosens up dirt or debris. This is also a great time to check for fleas/ticks and to see if your dog has any tender areas that may need to be checked out by a vet.
Bathe them regularly.
Scrub-a-dub-dub and get the dog in the tub! Dogs roll in the grass and dirt, play in the bushes, dig in the mud and lay on the ground. All that dirty play has an effect on your dog’s coat. Fur is like a sponge and regular bathing can keep dirt from building up, which might lead to irritated skin and excessive scratching. Make sure the water is lukewarm and always use a gentle hypo-allergenic natural dog wash. Dogs have varying levels of enthusiasm for bath time, so you might want to do tip #3 (trim your dog’s nails) before hopping into the tub.
Trim your dog’s nails.
Long nails on dogs can cause them unnecessary pain. A good pair of nail trimmers with a safety guard can help you feel confident that you won’t accidentally cut into their quick (a vein that runs partially into the nail) and regular leg massages will keep them relaxed when you handle their feet. If you’ve never trimmed a dog’s nails, have your vet show you the safe and easy way, because your gentle confidence will make the experience smooth and fast for your dog as well.
Brush your dog’s teeth.
Yuck mouth doesn’t just stink, it’s unhealthy! You can use a gentle children’s toothbrush or a special brush designed for a dog. Brushing at least 2 times a week will keep periodontal disease at bay, which in turn will keep your dog around longer. Just don’t try to achieve that Colgate smile and avoid using human toothpaste. There are many affordable dog dental products on the market that are safe to swallow, and taste good too!
Clean your dog’s ears.
Ears are a fantastic environment for bacteria to breed. They are cavernous, dark and often moist. It’s important to check your dog’s ears regularly to see that they are dry and clean and not irritated. After bathing or swimming, gently but thoroughly dry the inside of your dog’s ears to make sure no moisture is left. Diluted apple cider vinegar applied to a cotton ball is an easy weekly maintenance cleaning and works as a natural antiseptic. Dogs with big floppy ears are especially prone to ear mites and bacteria growth, so be sure to check them out frequently.
Grooming your dog at home is a great way to bond with your pooch. They love the personal attention and adding one or two things a week will take you no time at all. A clean dog is a healthy dog and is much more likely to get hugs and kisses than a stinky dog. If all else fails, there are plenty of professionals who groom dogs for a living and you can find one at: https://www.doggeek.com/dog-groomers/ where you can make regular spa appointments if you need a little help. Remember, cleanliness is next to Dogliness!
The Holidays bring excitement, parties, meals and decorations all of which can be a hazard to your pet. No need to cancel the festivities, just be prepared so that you and your best friend have a safe and merry Christmas! Here’s a top 5 list to of things to remember to make sure your holiday is safe for your pets:
1. Keep all holiday food on high ground out of your pet’s reach. Just like how people pack on the pounds during the holidays because of irresistible food, dogs want to eat too. Remember, chocolate, alcohol and other feeds can be toxic to your pet.
2. Secure and/or hide all lighting and other electric cords.Whether its the desire to see what the cord tastes like and having a shocking experience or the rough play running around the house and tripping making the tree fall down, cords can get in the way and wreak havoc if not properly secure. Make sure they are tucked up against the wall securely so they won’t be played with. If needed, spray down with Bitter Apple or another taste aversion spray.
3. Carefully choose holiday plants and where you put them. Many of them are dangerous to your pets. Mistletoe, holly, lilies and poinsettias call all be poisonous and affect them in different ways. Make sure they are out of reach as to not be eaten and secure so they won’t be tipped over.
4. Keep their safe spot safe. Many dogs have a safe spot. Whether it be in their crate in a certain spot or their bed in the living room, don’t make their safe spot the new place for the tree or other holiday items. Pets thrive on routine, let them know that even with all the fun, this is still their home too and they have a safe spot.
5. Ensure ID tags are on and readable.With people coming and going during all the parties your dog or other pets may get out. Make sure they get home safe with proper ID tags, microchips if you can.
Have a safe and Merry Christmas from our family at DogGeek.com to yours.
The holidays are full of friends, family, parties and food and we all want our fur family to be involved. The one thing that no one wants during the season is an emergency pet bill though. The following food can make your dog ill or even poison them so avoid them and reach for the treat bag instead if you just can’t hold back sharing with them.
Candies or baked goods using Xylitol
It’s not just the food, remember to have your lights, cords,tree and other decorations out of reach from your pups.
Last but not least, remember to have a good time and ejoy the season!