Being stuck during this quarantine can be boring for both you and your pet. The pandemic is a time where people are trying to establish a long term financial plan while being forced at home. To save money and keep boredom at bay, you can spend quality time bonding with your pet. While you’re staying safe by social distancing, there are fun and educational things that you can do together to pass the time. Here are tips and activities for training your pet during this quarantine.
Teach A New Trick
Now that you’re home most of the time now, it’s a great time to teach your pet a new trick. If you own one of the 75 million dogs in the U.S., you’ve probably already taught basic commands like sit or stay. You can work on more advanced tricks such as standing on their back legs or playing dead. Use treats to reinforce these new skills by shaking a cup of them as you train them. If you don’t have plenty of treats on hand, you can use dry food as reward.
If you think your cat can’t learn tricks, you may be mistaken. With clicker training, you can teach your cat to high five, use the toilet, and even run through a homemade obstacle course. You can find many tricks and activities to teach your cat by performing a mobile search online. With approximately 63% of mobile searches being zero-click, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for easily. With the increased availability of time you have together, your pet can learn a multitude of tricks that you can show off to your friends and family once the quarantine is over.
Practice Pet Yoga
Pet yoga is one of the newest trends in the exercise world. Get out your yoga mat and your dog or cat will most likely be right there to work out alongside you. You can both relieve stress and spend some good quality time getting healthy. You can try to see if you can train your pet to imitate the same poses you’re doing with treat and clicker training.
Nip Biting In The Bud
Approximately 4.5 million Americans are victims of dog bites each year, and half of these are children. Now that everyone is in the home more, your pet may feel more insecure and anxious, which can lead to potential aggression. Even cats can lash out from time to time when they feel threatened. Pay close attention to your pet’s body language such as bared teeth or ears flattening. If you notice your animal displaying these signs, you may want to use positive reinforcement training techniques to help them cope with uncomfortable situations.
If your cat gets a bit too aggressive while you’re playing together, resist the urge to punish or scold. Instead, correct the behavior with a time out. Withdraw your attention immediately by walking away to another room and closing the door between you so your cat can’t access you. Come back after a few minutes and resume activities as normal. You can also divert your cat’s aggression with a toy or give your pet catnip to help calm them.
Hide And Seek
Both cats and dogs can play this mentally stimulating and fun game. You want to start slow when introducing this game to keep your pet’s interest fully peaked. Start by calling your pet around mealtime in the place you normally do then switch to different rooms for subsequent meals. When your pet finds you, reward them with food or their favorite toy. You can increase the difficulty as much as your pet will tolerate. This is a great way to teach your dog or cat to come whenever you call.
Another way you can mentally stimulate your pets is through a treasure hunt with treats. You can hide their treats through various locations around the house. Activate their hunting instincts by encouraging them to go find them. Once they have the idea that treats may be lurking anywhere, they will be motivated to be more active throughout the day searching for that tasty treasure that could be around any corner.
Both dogs and cats are capable of learning how to play fetch, although the training activities involved are slightly different. For a dog, you may need to start by teaching him how to chase whatever object you’re throwing first by running with them to it. When they grab it, reward them with a treat. Then you can work on bringing the item back to you by rewarding them with treats.
For a cat, you can line up a trail of treats to encourage them to bring their favorite toy back to you after they’ve pounced on it. Reducing the number of treats over a period of time, edging the treats closer to you. Always use the same two commands such as fetch or bring here for your dog or cat. They’ll catch on to the fact that these commands may lead to rewards and will motivate them to want to learn and engage.
Keep Training Sessions Short
When training your pet, keep your session activities short. Training should only last between 10 to 20 minutes for about two to three times a day. After that, your pet will lose their attention and motivation to keep going. Dogs and cats thrive on routine, so keep your activities consistent on a daily basis. The best time for training activities is before meals. Work up your pet’s appetite with some invigorating play, then provide them with a small meal and let them rest afterward.