Tips to keep dogs entertained in lockdown

Jo Griffiths has shared her tips to keep dogs entertained in lockdown.
Jo Griffiths has shared her tips to keep dogs entertained in lockdown.

Dog owners are celebrating the news that exercise in family groups is allowed, effective immediately.

But while the 'circuit breaker' lockdown eases, we have some tips to help some vulnerable dog owners who are concerned about getting their pets out of the house to give their dog the stimulation they need.

Joanna dog trainer Jo Griffiths said there are plenty of options to keep your dog entertained while stuck in the house.

She said contrary to popular belief, you do not need to tire your dog out physically.

"I do not suggest tearing around the garden cashing a ball," she said.

"Everyone seems to think you have to expel your dog's energy in a crazy way, but all you do is create a monster.

"What you want to do is tire them out with their brain, rather than physical exertion. Normally you'd find balance in that.

"If you exercise them in a crazy way, yes they'll be exhausted and they might go flat out afterwards, but when they wake up again, they are fitter and more ready for the next round, and then they need more and more and more.

"What you want to do, in normal life, they would have moderate exercise and you give them a little bit of training and a little bit of gameplay puzzle work, and that will tire them out much more.

"You can take them on a sniffing trail around the garden. A 20 minutes sniffing trail will get you two hours sleep from them."

She said those working from home should ensure their dogs are getting enough sleep.

"One of the drawbacks of being home all the time is that your dog doesn't get enough sleep and like toddlers, if they don;t get enough sleep they turn into little monsters," he said.

"A lot of people think 'I feel so cruel going to work everyday' but in actual fact, if you give your dog some enrichment in the morning, before you go to work, then while you're at work, he is going to sleep and when you come back he gets his moderate exercise, your company and social interactions and that's fine, but dogs that have their owners at home all day, some of them will walk off and go to sleep, but most of them have this new thing called FOMO (fear of missing out) and will not go to sleep, because they want to see what is going on all the time.

"You'll notice, your dog will be just starting to drop off and you'll stand up and the dogs up, because he doesn't want to miss what you are doing.

"You want them to have plenty of sleep, otherwise you get all kinds of bad behaviour that isn't necessary, it's coming from their lack of sleep."

"Some people that have very anxious or reactive dogs might notice that the week inside actually does them the world of good, because they aren't going through the stress of going outside where they are terrified."

She recommended people who are looking for ideas to keep their pets enriched look online, but warned people to be wary of the source of the information.

"I recommend Kikopups - she has nice little videos of how to train pups to do little tricks,' she said.

"Canine Enrichment is a Facebook page, and lots of people put up ideas of what you can do with your dog - most of it involves food, but for a few days of that won't hurt.

"There are puzzles ideas on there - you don't have to buy expensive puzzles, you can make them with toilet roll tubes, boxes, screwed up newspaper, playing hide and seek around the house.

"You do have to teach them how to do it but some posts on there can help with that."

"There are puzzles - you don't have to buy expensive puzzles, you can make them with toilet roll tubes, boxes, screwed up newspaper, playing hide and seek around the house.

"You do have to teach them how to do it, some posts there can help with that."