Dogs have been in their tail-wagging glory during the COVID-19 quarantine – having their people home all day is the greatest thing that’s happened to dogkind since the invention of peanut butter! Now that many of us are beginning to return to our normal lives and heading back to the office, we need to be mindful that our dogs will have to adjust once more to time without us.
We can all help make the transition back to office life easier for our four-legged family members by making sure we pay special attention to the three basic needs that a dog requires for a happy, well-balanced life – Exercise, Mental Stimulation, and Quiet Time.
No matter the breed, no matter the size, and no matter the temperament, dogs from all walks of life need physical exercise. Not only does daily exercise help expend your pooch’s pent-up energy, but it’s an essential element to maintaining a strong, positive bond with your dog.
A young, vibrant pup benefits from just two daily 30-minute sessions of running, fetching, tug-of-warring fun, with an additional two 15-minute walks every day, while an adult dog would love to have two daily playtimes with you, with an added 20-minute walk. Senior dogs also still love their playtime sessions and would be overjoyed to spend two play sessions with you, with a couple of 20-minute walks every day.
By making sure you pay attention to their daily exercise needs, you’ll find your dog is happier, calmer, and displays fewer problematic behaviors.
Dogs are thinking creatures – intelligent and curious, with a love of learning and a need to burn off mental energy. Some of the most fun and rewarding ways to engage your dog’s mind are with problem-solving games, enrichment toys, and training. Teaching Fido new tricks and behaviors – and always doing so with joyful play and positive reinforcement – is an ideal way to mentally stimulate your pet while reinforcing good manners and conduct on a daily basis. Just three or four 15-minute daily sessions in different areas of your home and yard will work wonders on your dog’s mental well-being and happiness.
Just as a tired toddler can become over-stimulated and ill-behaved, so can your dog if it’s not getting enough rest. Den dwellers by nature, dogs need a quiet place in the home where they feel safe and can sequester themselves; a crate or area away from activity that will give them a measure of peace and comfort where they can be alone and sleep. Two or three daily rest periods are essential for your dog’s overall health and well-being.
Don’t forget that as we’re transitioning back to our regular lives and schedules, our dogs are going to be transitioning back to days spent without their human companions and best friends. Make sure you take the time to attend to all of your dog’s needs – both mental and physical – to keep them happy and help them thrive through all stages of their lives.