Lessons from Lockdown - Beneficial for Any Time
Health Risks For Our Dogs
We were worried about all the activities we do at home that can be of danger to our dogs. For example, kids crafting, baking, snacking and playing may place your dog (and other pets) at risk of ingesting items that can be extremely harmful to four-legged animals. But these risks are always present.
For an overview of 'all' the possibilities that might require you to take your dog to the Vet by Dr. Lisa Goldstein see https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/when-to-take-your-dog-to-the-emergency-vet
There’s a risk that food-related activities could pile on the weight for our dogs (a risk for humans too ).
In a 2.48min video, Dr Alex Avery explains The Simple Way To Know If Your Dog Is Overweight - a more nuanced/precise method than "can you feel their ribs?". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHmupA4Sj_Y
In a companion podcast episode (audio & transcript) - Effective Weight Loss Strategies For Your Pet (diet, treats, exercise and more) - discusses the following with Dr. Carolyn Taylor, The Slim Pet Vet https://theslimpetvet.co.uk/:
- Why being too heavy matters
- The source of the problem (and how to prevent it)
- The role of exercise in weight loss
- Breaking down the diet options for weight loss
- Top weight loss tips
Deduct the food you use for dog training and enrichment from your dog’s meal-time food; so rather than extra food, your dog is getting the same amount of food but delivered in interesting ways.
Stress is ever present, lockdown or not.
One cause of stress is unwanted or too much attention from human family members. Regularly talk with your children about the importance of giving the dog (or cat or guinea pig) alone-time, and be prepared to supervise interactions. All pets have to be allowed to move away to a quiet, alone-space that everyone in the family respects.
Canine Body Language Guide
Stress Specific Guide - Pat Miller's Whole Dog Journal article, 'Stressed Out' covers the causes and signs of stress: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/stressed-out/
New Pups/Recently Adopted Rescue Dog
Helping your dog to be comfortable in his world is a crucial role for pet guardians. This process is often called “socialisation”. Consider the learning experiences that you can generate related to:
A comprehensive article on socialisation options in times of social isolation was prepared by Jessica Ring of My Fantastic Friend but the article has great tips applicable to puppies and newly adopted dogs any time https://www.myfantasticfriend.com/2020/03/19/time-is-of-the-essence-puppy-socialization-during-a-pandemic/
TrainingDogs behave like dogs, sometimes leading to their humans becoming frustrated and irritated. (There’s really no 'Bad'-Dog Behaviour; there’s behaviour that humans don’t like! )
It's always a great time for training activities with your dog. Prioritising training dogs at any age has lots of win-win benefits:
• Training gives your dog’s brain a workout, and it will give your brain something to do other than look at all those screens in your life.
• Tackle challenges like your dog barking at passers-by
• Refine simple ‘manners’ behaviours – Sit, Lay Down, Stay, Walk on a Loose Lead
• Try out tricks
There are so many resources out there! Plus, you can always reach out to us for help.
Here’s our best advice for all training:
• Focus on FUN for both of you, and stop any training activity while you’re both still enjoying it.
• Take notice and acknowledge with praise and the occasional treat all of your dog’s good behaviours - when your dog chooses not to jump but to sit quietly at your side when she wants your attention, for example. Unwanted behaviour naturally gets our attention, but don’t take good behaviour for granted.
Enhance your dog’s wellbeingJust like us, our dogs get bored. “Enrichment” involves giving your dog options in terms of a range of activities.
- Explore your neighbourhood – walk different routes and allow your dog to do lots of sniffing. Sniffing is both relaxing and mentally stimulating for a dog. It is sort of like a creative hobby might be for us – our brain is happily whirring away while we are doing it.
- Food Puzzle Toys (DIY & retail) – Muffin Tray, Snuffle Mat, Stuffed Kong
- Games & Fun – Hide & Seek, Digging Pit, Find it, Tug of War
The Gentle Modern School of Dog Training YouTube Channel – Tricks, Food Puzzle Toys, Stuffed Kong recipe, and morehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-STAPn1Q4ULfIBAXm04K7g/
Digging Pit Guide
8 Fun Scent Games Your Dog Will Love By Steve Duno https://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/8-fun-scent-games-your-dog-will-love/80052
How to Teach Your Dog Object Names By Nancy Tucker https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/cognitive-skills/how-to-teach-your-dog-object-names/
Range of products and tips from the Australia Dog Lover https://www.australiandoglover.com/2020/02/top-12-boredom-busters-for-dogs-in-2020.html
Use toys designed for independent play (that is, play that doesn’t involve you). For example: Hanging toys that your dog can bat about: for example, bungee products such as the ‘home alone’ toy and ‘chook’ toy from Aussie Dog Products – https://aussiedog.com.au/product-category/alone/
Give your dog long-lasting chews that she can enjoy separate from you (e.g. she has the treat in the backyard while you are in the house). For example, deer antlers take a long time to chew.
Make a 'Special Space' for your dog to relax in your absence: Where does your dog like to hang out? Is there a sunny spot near the kitchen that he likes to stretch out? Is there a cosy nook near the heating vent? Put a dog bed in this spot - a bed with sides if there might be draughts sometimes. Set up a radio/speaker nearby that will play white noise or soothing music (think reggae or special compilations or instrumental). What other things do you know that relax your dog (exercise, certain aromas, blankets they can make a nest from, lying on an old t-shirt you've worn, etc)? How can you employ them?