Woman sitting on red couch reaching book and petting small dog beside her

We all love spending time with our pups, but as social distancing and working from home increases due to COVID-19 concerns, you may find yourself with more doggie bonding time than either of you are used to. Here are some fun ideas to enhance your newfound quality time with your BFFF (best furry friend forever)!

Try New Indoor Games

Dogs who are usually content to stay home by themselves during the day may find their daily routine disrupted by their pet parents’ presence, which could lead to them needing more attention. Try to take a break multiple times throughout your day to spend time with them and keep them entertained. Consider reinforcing their training with obedience games, such as testing how long they can stay or getting them to respond to new commands. Reward their best efforts with a healthy treat.

Other games to consider include “Hide and Seek” (where one family member holds the dog as another hides), “Find It” (start by putting a treat down on the ground and pointing to it as you say, “find it.” When the dog eats the treat, place another further away and slightly out of sight, instructing them to “find it” again. Work your way up to hiding 3-5 treats in a room, and praise them heavily as they find each one), and “Puppy In the Middle” (family members stand in a circle and call the dog back and forth between them, which burns off the pup’s energy and reinforces name recognition and following commands).

Spend Time Outdoors

Even if you are practicing social distancing, you can still take advantage of parks and hiking trails in your area (assuming they are not heavily populated).  Change up the route of your daily walks to offer some variety for you both and give your pup new sniffing and exploring opportunities. Try running in short sprints with your pup, as interval training benefits you both. Be sure to bring a backpack with your pup’s supplies, including a travel water bowl and snacks.

Turn Off the World

News about the coronavirus and the stress of social distancing can take a toll on your mental health. Take a few minutes every day to shut out the world and spend some quality time focusing on your dog. Enjoy 15 minutes of cuddle time in your dog’s favorite spot twice a day, gather all of your dog’s toys together and play with whichever one your pup chooses, spend 10 minutes taking cute selfies of the two of you, or give your pup a massage, which will leave you both relaxed. Your local Dogtopia misses you and your pup, make sure to post your pup’s fun selfies to social media and tag your Dogtopia.

Studies have shown that being a pet parent helps alleviate stress, increase your activity levels, and improve your overall health.  In high-anxiety times such as these, spending more time with your dog can benefit you both!

If you’re able to, keep a consistent doggie daycare routine to make sure your dog gets the socialization and exercise they require. Check with your local Dogtopia to confirm availability for daycare.