Heading out on a walk is hands down one of the highlights of dog ownership. Chances are there will be times where you’re not allowed to take your dog on their usual walks. Whether it’s a global pandemic, sudden change in schedule or while they’re recovering from illness or injury. Thankfully there are many ways you can keep your dog entertained when they can’t go out on walks!
Nicki’s spaniel Ollie is on the mend after breaking his leg on a walk at the beginning of 2021. He was initially on strict crate rest but is now allowed on restricted lead walks while he recovers from his operation. It’s safe to say Nicki’s been put through her paces trying to keep an energetic spaniel calm and still!
Enrichment toys are the perfect mental stimulation for dogs that are on restricted exercise. Stuff them with your dog’s favourite treat, or a portion of their daily meal if you prefer. The toys will provide your dog with the perfect puzzle to solve, slowing down mealtimes and tiring them out without having to be taken on a walk. There are so many enrichment toys available from brands including K9 Connectables, Kongs and West Paw!
You don’t need to splurge on fancy toys either. There are plenty of DIY enrichment ideas that will keep your dog entertained. If you’re looking for enrichment inspiration, we highly recommend following @enrichingpaws on Instagram. Beth reviews all the top enrichment toys on the market and also provides DIY tutorials to transform a wide range of household objects into fun enrichment activities for your dog.
If your dog is able to move around and isn’t on strict crate rest, you can organise a variety of sniffing games for them to play around you home. Hide treats in one room of your house and encourage your dog to find them. For added difficulty, make sure your dog is in a different room while you set up the game, so they have to rely solely on their noses to sniff the treats out.
It doesn’t have to be food orientated either. Why not hide your dog’s favourite toys and encourage them to sniff them out? You could even develop this skill one step further and teach them to tidy their toys away!
Chewing helps calm dogs down, releasing endorphins and helping them settle and unwind. You just need to make sure they know exactly what they should be chewing. You don’t want suddenly find your sofa legs have been gnawed on! Natural dog chews are available from most pet shops and you can even purchase monthly subscription boxes with a wide variety of chews for your dog to try.1
Please remember to supervise your dog when they’re chewing. Remove chews when they wear down and become a potential choking hazard for your dog! You’ll also need to ensure your dog has adequate access to water when using a chew, it’s hard work and they often get pretty thirsty after.
Taking time to teach your dog something new will provide you both with quality time and build your bond together. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly useful either – the more inventive the better! Canine obedience is worth working on regularly but understandably our busy lives often get in the way.
You can tailor your tricks to your dog’s mobility levels. If they’re on strict crate rest, why not teach them to ‘speak’ or ‘paw’ which both involve limited movement. When your dog is allowed out a little more you can teach them to open cupboards or fetch household items for you.
How do you keep your dog entertained when they’re not allowed out on walks? We’d love to hear your suggestions!
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