During this time of coronavirus quarantine, if you have a pet it is likely that you are enjoying having extra time to spend with them. However, there are a lot of things you can be doing with them (aside from going on 73 walks a day) during this time that can help them excel post-quarantine as well.
This quarantine is a great time to work on training. Whether that is brushing up on basics, instilling some trick-training, or even leash manners. Oftentimes we just don’t have the time to work on reinforcing commands our pets already know, let alone work on giving them new commands to master. In-between Zoom meetings and Skype calls, consider sharpening up those basic commands with positive reinforcement. It’ll help break up your day and get you away from your computer screen, and the more constant reiterations will help solidify those commands.
Also consider a few new tricks for your pet! Always wanted to teach your dog to high-five? Or for your cat to jump a hoop? What better time than right now?
Lastly, while you take your dog for your 53rd walk of the morning, think about keeping your dog’s leash skills sharp while you both exercise. Especially with so many people out walking their dogs right now, having a well-mannered dog that isn’t going to bark, pull, or otherwise endanger yourself, your pet, or another dog or person (or bring you within 6 feet of another person!).
Another great activity to do with your pets right now is cuddle or play with them! My pets have made great cuddle-buddies while I’m online for my rounds, even making the occasional cameo. You don’t want to smother your pet and stress them out, but especially for those high-energy friends, use the extra time to throw that tennis ball another few times.
One thing that is super important during this time is to remember that this is just as much of a disruption to your pets’ schedule as it is to yours. Try to not overwhelm your pet; especially if you are normally at work or school the majority of the day, your pet is probably going to still want some time to themselves. Additionally, keeping as much normal routine for them (i.e. same feeding time, same walk time, etc.), will be helpful to give them some semblance of structure. When you have the ability to leave for groceries, essential work or activities, try to recreate the situation as your pet normally would be in when you would be gone normally in non-quarantine times. It will be important when you return to a normal work or school routine that your pet will now be accustomed to you being home all the time, and may have some anxiety when you are no longer around all the time. Being able to leave your pets regularly, even for short periods of time, will make that transition back to normal life a little easier.
Take advantage of this extra time for training, playing, walking and cuddling – and try to give your pets structure when you can. Now more than ever, our pets are amazing partners to beat loneliness and provide companionship and entertainment.