How to Survive Quarantine with your High-Energy Dog (& Not Completely Lose It)!
No matter how much you love someone, there’s only so much time you can spend with them before you need your own space, or a little peace and quiet. Whether it be a spouse, roommate, or even your own children… you’ve probably already found yourself losing patience after having 24/7 interaction with them these past few months!
Having a dog that seems to have endless energy and enthusiasm is no exception to the rule, no matter how adorable they are. Waking up at odd hours of the night to a dog who is ready to play, having to constantly distract Fido throughout the day and keep him busy, and keeping up with him can be exhausting! When you throw in the anxiety and stress of dealing with the ongoing pandemic, then it’s likely that both you and your dog need a little extra help calming down.
Here’s how to survive quarantine with your high-energy dog without completely losing it:
Step 1: Face the Facts
Accept your dog for who he or she is. That might seem like a no-brainer (bare with us!), but we’ve seen a lot of pet parents try to train the energy away, or hope their pups will eventually grow out of being so active. You can certainly improve behavior, but some breeds are just biologically wired to be wired! Some dogs require a high level of stimulation.
A lot of conflicts in life come from trying to get rid of what makes us uncomfortable. Instead, try learning to work with the things you don’t like rather than against them. Start by seeing your pup’s crazy amount of energy as an opportunity and keep reading!
Step 2: Read Between the Lines
Even though your dog might not know what the heck a coronavirus is, he is smart enough to understand that things aren’t quite right. They may be happy to spend more time with you, but trust us, they’ve got some questions for you: “Why aren’t you doing the things you usually do? Where are our other friends? Why are you so different and stressed?”
Energetic dogs aren’t always just trying to play and be busy—they’re often trying to figure something out, communicate something important to you, or make you feel better. Learning how to read between the lines of their behavior is a great way to address his energy. Use the extra time you have on your hands to understand your dog's body language and the subtle cues they give!
Step 3: Put Your Pooch to Work!
Most dogs are bred to have a job. They have a purpose in life, whether it’s to hunt, lure, or herd and the list goes on. Back in the day, their boundless energy levels were useful and necessary to humans. In these modern times, and especially during quarantine… not so much!
Still, your dog needs a job, so give him one. This can be as simple as teaching him or her a new trick, even if it’s a silly one, or getting them to do frisbee tricks in the backyard. Take this time to delve a little deeper and research his or her particular breed and what function they are biologically designed to fulfill. For instance, if your pup is predatory, look into lure coursing to give him the sense of chasing live prey. Is he a sniffer? No problem! Start teaching your pup how to play nose work games with treats.
Puzzle toys and feeders are the go-to solutions to a lot of canine problems. For one, they provide mental stimulation and activate your dog’s natural instincts to search for food and problem-solve. They also take up time and can sometimes even wear a pup out! Puzzle toys are known to help manage dogs’ emotional well-being, too. (Quarantining can be depressing for dogs, too!) And finally, puzzle feeders are great tools for weight management. Whether it’s to lose weight or maintain, they keep pups active and healthy.
Step 4: Make Sure the Time You Spend with Them is *Quality* Time
You got your dog for a reason, right? Dogs give us the priceless gift of joy and of having a bond with them. It stands to reason that when you spend time with your pup, you’re not just keeping him busy, you’re truly benefitting yourself as well.
For instance, giving your dog even 5 minutes of completely undivided attention is better than 30 minutes of giving him distracted time. Examples of distracted time could include looking at your phone while you take them for a walk, keeping the news on at home when you’re playing with him, etc. He will get so much out of your undivided attention, and you will too. If you’re stressed, so is your pup!
Also, your routine walks with him or her don’t have to be just that—routine, ordinary, or boring. Walking isn’t just about depleting all of your dog’s excess energy, and there are a lot of ways to keep yourself (and your pup) interested. For instance, sensory walks will work wonders for stress management. Oftentimes pet parents want their dogs to keep walking. Take time to literally stop and smell the roses! Let him take his time sniffing that one spot. He needs to satisfy his sensory cravings!
Step 5: Hire Pet Waggin’, the Pet Problem Solvers of Long Beach!
Even if you have a lot of energy yourself, you’re only human. At the end of the day, sometimes you’re just too worn out to be the “perfect” pet parent (not that anyone’s perfect!). That’s exactly why we do what we do, and why we love doing it. We know that helping to take care of your pets means that we’re also helping to take care of you.
If there’s anything we learned this year, it’s that our Long Beach community is AMAZING at getting through hard times together. We added extra services in order to do our part, so if you’re busy or even straight-up too anxious, we can pick up your pet’s supplies or take them wherever they need to go with Pet Taxi!
There might be some days where you just don’t have the energy to make your dog walks extra *special*, and that’s okay! We ALWAYS have the energy to provide the quality exercise he needs. We’re still offering dog walks, and you can also check out what we’ve been doing to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember how dogs respond to change. As stay-at-home orders begin to ease up and businesses start to re-open, your dog will have another major adjustment to make, especially if you’re going back to work. We’re here to help you and your pet transition back to normalcy, so give us a call!