Guidance for dog owners during the Covid-19 restrictions
Due to the current restrictions surrounding Covid-19, and although the government have advised that people can still go for a walk (at a safe distance from others), a lot of people will be worrying about not being able to walk their dogs. So here are some top tips from Stroud's animal welfare officer, who is also a qualified canine behaviourist:
Remember two things, firstly it’s perfectly possible to exercise your dog without actually walking it! Of course it isn’t ideal, dogs and their humans love to go out exploring, it’s good for both of them; mentally and physically, but there are always situations in life where going out for a dog walk simply isn’t possible. That brings me nicely onto the second thing, did you know that 5 minutes training with a dog has the equivalent effect on them as a 15 minute walk, so spend 10 or 15 minutes training or mentally stimulating your dog and it’s like they’ve had a good 30-45 minute walk! Here are some ideas to mentally stimulate your dog:
- Ditch the bowl! – Rather than feeding your dog from their bowl why not try hiding their food around the house and encourage them to sniff and search it out. You might want to try filling up a laundry basket with screwed up old newspaper, empty plastic bottles and tennis balls and then hide their food amongst the items. Your dog will love rummaging through it for something tasty! Or use some upturned plastic beakers to hide treats under, show your dog which one the treat is under and then mix the beakers up and let them sniff it out.
- Teach an old dog new tricks! – The old saying simply isn’t true! Have you always wanted to teach your dog to roll over or to give paw? Well now’s the time. Your dog will love the challenge and it always provides a laugh for their human.
- Basic training – Why not take the time to go over some basic training? We all teach our dogs some basic commands when they first arrive, but how often do we use them and practise them. Get your dog sitting, staying and lying down for a tasty treat.
- Ball time – If you’ve got access to a garden, some ball time (even if they run off with it, like mine) is always great fun.
- Grooming – A lot of dogs moult their winter coats this time of year, so a good groom is great for their coat and is important bonding time between you and your dog.
Finally, remember to go easy on fatty treats - use a handful of their normal daily food or a healthy alternative to reward your dogs. Post some photos of what you get up to on our facebook and twitter feed comments, we’d love to see and it will give others some ideas!
To find out more about dog walking and assisting with other peoples dogs, please visit: www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus