Have you noticed your dog giving sad puppy eyes more than normal? As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, frustration may start to settle in for many including our four-legged friends. One way to combat their weariness is to keep them busy, happy and healthy. Here are three simple steps that can help keep your dogs occupied during quarantine.

Step 1: It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

Lately you may have noticed that your dog is overwhelmed with boredom. One way to keep your best friend entertained is teach them a few new tricks. Do not be discouraged if you have a senior dog, as it is never too late for new training. 

KaitLynn Markley/Courier
Greñas stands on the front steps of her house in Los Angeles, CA on Monday, May 25, 2020.

“Adult dogs are often even easier to train than pups, simply because they have the ability to focus for a longer period of time,” according to Dog Time.

Since many have extra time on their hands these days, now is the perfect time to teach your dog the harder tricks they were never able to master before. Training your dog to roll-around, dance and to wave at the camera for a photo can be taught with some treats and lots of patience. While the first two are a bit more advanced tricks, you can teach your dog to wave for the camera in as little as ten minutes. 

To teach them to wave, first make sure you have your dog’s attention, next have your dog sit down facing you, finally hold a treat in your left hand with your cell phone or camera in the right hand. When your dog is watching the treat say “high five.”

Repeat this process until your dog is mimicking your hand gesture, which will look like he/she is waving at the camera. Remember to reward successful attempts with treats.

Step 2: Keep your pups active with regular exercise.

Michael Watkins / Courier
Penny Bell sits in the grass in her owners yard in Los Angeles, Calif. on May 14, 2020.

If you notice that your dog is sleeping all day, this may be induced by the boredom they feel. One way to keep them happy and active is to take them on long walks early in the morning or in the late evening. You can slowly turn your long walks into jogs as they start to get used to the added exercise. 

It is best to do so during those time frames because the weather is cooler and there are less people outdoors. Vet Street also recommends the same time frame because your dogs are less likely to overheat. 

This exercise will ensure that your dog is sleeping from being tired and not just because they are bored. Take your favorite pair of earphones with you and your trusted mask to ensure some great cardio.

Step 3: Don’t overthink it.

You don’t need to get fancy to ensure that your dog remains happy and healthy through this pandemic. A balanced diet, regular exercise and lots of attention will often do the trick. 

“A healthy dog is eager to spend time with family, greeting you at the door, coming to you for playtime, watching and observing with interest,” according to Veterinary Pet Insurance. 

This means that spending quality time with your dog is absolutely necessary for your dog’s health. Clearing up 20 minutes of your schedule for designated play-time can greatly improve your dog’s overall mood, thus can improve their general health. 

Play-time with your pup is the easiest step of all. With so many choices of games to pick from you might find yourself playing a thrilling game of fetch, a friendly match of tug-of-war or good old-fashioned roll in the dirt with your pup. 

A few minutes dedicated to your dog can equal a world full of joy. Being quarantined for two months and counting can drive anyone crazy, so let’s not forget the sanity of our furry friends during this crazy time. Put down your phone, set your laptops aside and have some good old play time with your loving dog.

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