During this incredibly challenging time, it's important to keep not only your well-being in mind but also your pup's. If your dog is showing signs of restlessness, such as whimpering or whining, pacing from room to room, or being active at night, they might be trying to tell you that they are bored and in need of more activity.
First, you want to rule out any medical issue as signs of restlessness could be more than just boredom. Once you have determined that your dog is healthy but needs more stimulation, check out these easy and fun things to do together:
- Sprints – For the energetic pups, consider doing sprints (remember shuttle runs from school?) to help wear them out. Spend a few minutes warming up, and then race with your pup back and forth across your yard, hallway, or on-leash outside. If off-leash, this can become a chasing game as well and is bound to get your blood pumping too.
- Tug and tether poles – Tug is an energetic game that can be used, like sprints, to quickly wear your pup out. If you can’t play tug as often as your pup would like, you could try out a tether pole or tether tug toy that attaches to a sturdy object or into the ground (for outside) where your dog can tug all on his own! There is also a version with a suction cup that can attach to surfaces indoors.
- Fetch – Dogs who enjoy fetch can get their sprints in by chasing their favorite toy.
- Puzzles - (for our favorites, see our Puzzles for Pups blog for puzzles you can buy or make at home) puzzles toys and homemade puzzles can give your dog something else to do. Pro-Tip: use a variety of puzzle options and mix up when and where you use them along with what you put in them!
- Change locations – When possible, change locations at home where you and your dog are staying. If you’re in an office, spend an hour outside or in your kitchen to break up the routine.
- Use this concept when you walk your dog as well! Change up your path instead of taking the same one each time.
- Scavenger Hunt – Hide some of your dog’s favorite toys and treats around the house (under pillows or rugs, behind a door, under a cup/bowl, etc.). Then let them go find these goodies you’ve stashed. You can use your voice to encourage them to search and point to where things are hidden if they struggle to catch the scent.
- Training –Take advantage of time at home by perfecting some of your pup’s favorite tricks or learning something new! A 10-minute training session can help tire a dog’s brain out, provide bonding time with focused attention on your dog, and give you a break from your daily activities. Check out tips for a successful training session through this Tips for Fun Training Sessions Blog.