These are some great games to keep you and your pets engaged and entertained during this time of the Coronavirus!
Are you quarantined or just staying home these days? Lockdowns across the county are making many folks feel a bit stir crazy. And here is the truth: your pets are probably feeling that stress too, especially if they are used to long walks, dog parks, and other games. Your puppy or dog is probably showing signs of pent-up energy.
While short walks outside and games of fetch are beneficial for both of you during these stressful times, it’s also a good idea to provide animals with mental stimulation to help keep them happy and occupied while stuck at home. These products will all keep your dog—or cat—busy for hours, giving you one less thing to worry about during quarantine.
Oh, and just FYI… There is no current evidence that companion dogs can become infected with COVID-19 nor be carriers of the virus.
KONG Toys are hollow giving you the opportunity to stuff treats and food inside of them and dogs just love it!
No matter your dog’s age, breed, or size, these toys make a worthwhile addition to their toy box. These durable rubber toys come in a variety of sizes, including options for puppies and strong chewers, and they feature a hollow interior where you can stuff treats and other food. Many people fill KONGS with ingredients like peanut butter or yogurt, then freeze the whole toy.
Your dog will spend hours trying to get every last tasty morsel of frozen food out of the interior, keeping them busy and mentally stimulated. Most, if not all, pet stores sell Kong toys and you can also buy them on Amazon.
Snuffle mats encourage a dog’s natural foraging skills. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, and you can encourage your pup to start using their nose with the toy, which measures 12-by-18-inches, looks like a small shag rug, with long pieces of fabric that mimic grass. You can hide pieces of food inside the mat, and your dog will use their nose to seek out the treats. Plus, you can machine wash and dry it for repeated use. You can buy these awesome rugs on Amazon.
Mentally stimulating games will tire your dog out. In addition to teaching your dog new tricks, you can also keep them busy by playing mentally stimulating games, such as the ones in Brain Games for Dogs.
This book contains a variety of solo, interactive, and group games, including activities like hide-and-seek, finding treats, and at-home agility courses.
Other Games to Give Your Pets Even More Mental Stimulation
- Make your dog work for treats. Many dog breeds, such as the German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Collies, Huskies, and more love when their owners give them a “job”, because they were bred to be work.
- Let your dog sniff & explore on walks: walks are great for you and your dog!
- Show your dog that you have a piece of food/treat in your hand. Say ‘find it!’ and throw the piece of food/treat across the floor
- When your dog finds the piece of food, say a clear ‘yes!’ so they know they have followed through with your command
Take this time to bond with your pets and teach them games like how to sit, stay, come, lie down and there are many, many more.
Even if your dog knows basic commands like sit, stay, and come, there are plenty of other tricks you can teach them while stuck in quarantine such as shaking hands to more complex actions like getting a bottle from the fridge. Plus, when you spend time teaching your dog tricks, you will also improve your bond and communication.
Training your dog is a great way to keep them mentally stimulated and will help you bond better with your dog!
- Playing games with your dog can stop them from chewing up furniture and getting bored.
- It is a good idea to put toys and treat bags away after your play session, ending with a nice ‘finish’ cue for your dog so that they understand the game is over.
- While playing inside, check regularly that your dog is not overdoing it by giving them regular breaks and making sure water is always available.
For the latest coronavirus advice for dogs, read our latest updates here.
How to Play with People
- Just in the way that you can use the ‘find it!’ game to ask your dog to find treats and toys; you can also ask them to find people.
- To begin, you ideally need two people to play the game.
- While one person goes to hide, the other will keep the dog distracted.
- When the other person is hidden, the person with the dog will say ‘find’ and say the person’s name like, ‘find Sally!’
- When your dog finds you, be sure to make a big fuss over them.
Keep this simple to begin with, hiding in obvious places where they can see you. When they approach you, give them lots of attention and repeat the exercise. You can increase the difficulty as your dog gets used to the game.
If you have cats, you should help them stay entertained too. This toy has colorful balls sure to capture your cat’s attention.
Your cat is probably not phased by your family’s schedule changes, but if your feline is feeling frisky while you’re trying to work, you can keep them entertained with the Tower of Tracks Cat Toy.
The interactive toy features three levels, each with a spinning ball on a circular track. Your cat can bat at the balls until their heart’s content, and you never have to worry about the balls going rogue and ending up under the couch.
This toy’s weighted base makes it stand up after being tipped over. Instead of giving your dog dinner in a bowl, you can extend mealtime with a product like the Starmark Treat Dispensing Bob-a-Lot Dog Toy. The inner chamber fits a variety of different kibble shapes and sizes, and the toy dispenses a few pieces every time your dog tips it over.
Whatever games you find to keep you and your pets engaged during this time will certainly help you relieve stress and form loving, lasting bonds with your pets. Use this time to relax and take advantage of it. This will more than likely never happen again in a lifetime, we hope!