Many experts believe and the emerging data are proving that many of the problems caused by COVID-19-related lockdowns are resulting in much more human misery, both short- and long-term, than the virus itself.
- A recent study reveals that the vast majority of people with animal companions feel their pets helped them cope emotionally and helped keep them fit and active during pandemic lockdowns
- The study authors made clear that while animal companions provide a buffer against psychological stress during lockdowns, the needs of pets must also be considered
- An unrelated study indicates that dogs in particular pick up on human stress, and their health can suffer as a result, this should serve as a heads up to dog owners that it is important to manage your lockdown stress not only for your sake, but also for your pet’s sake too
- To help your dog remain calm and relaxed during a lockdown, focus on outdoor play along with stimulating indoor activities
Help your dog manage tress
If you have your own fenced-in backyard, take advantage of it while you are stuck at home by inviting your dog to join you in some interactive play.
Throw a ball or a Frisbee. Play a game of tug or chase him/her around the in the grass. Even feeding your dog outside can be a welcome change for both of you.
Train your dog to enjoy interactive food toys, and learn animal massage.
Also, long walks or a hike during which you let your dog sniff anything and everything can dramatically reduce your dog’s heart rate and stress level. Getting outside for some fresh air and exercise will be very beneficial for both of you, as long as you can do it safely.
Exercise really is a Top way to naturally and effectively help manage your dog’s stress, and dogs need a lot of it, so daily walks, runs or outdoor play sessions will go a long way in helping them cope with internal anxiety.
Indoor games and activities that can help keep your dog mentally stimulated, as follows::
A Flirt stick is a simple pole or handle with a length of rope tied to one end, and a toy attached to the far end of the rope. You can buy 1 or make your own homemade version, just be sure to use regular rope and not flexible or bungee cord.
Flirt sticks appeal to the prey drive in dogs, and they are a fun way to exercise your dog in your backyard or in the house if you have the space or your dog is small.
The game is simple: drag the toy on the ground in a circle, and your pet chases and tugs at it.
The Flirt stick can be a fun way to help your dog with basic commands like sit, down, look, wait, take it, leave it, and drop it. It is also useful for helping your dog practice listening while in a state of high arousal and cooling down immediately on command.
And this: Your dog, like all dogs, has an incredible sense of smell, so teaching it to find treats using only its nose is great stimulation. Place a few opaque containers on the ground upside down and next to each other. Place a treat under one of the containers while he/she is not looking, then bring your dog to the boxes and encourage smelling them.
When your dog stops at the 1 containing the treat, lift up the container, give praise, and let your dog eat the treat. Keep adding more boxes and place them farther apart to increase the challenge as your dog’s “nose work” abilities improve.
According to the results of a recent study, sharing a home with a pet appears to act as a buffer against psychological stress during lockdown.
In fact, most of the survey respondents believed their pets were a source of considerable support. So look after your furry friend.
Have a healthy day, Keep the Faith!