Navigating the New "Normal" with Dogs
Our Lives Have Changed Forever...
Our world has changed beyond recognition over the last few months, that is for sure, and navigating this new "normal" of ours can be so incredibly daunting. While many of us have gone, or are about to go back to work, there are still quite a few of us working at home with our pets, or sadly wondering what we're going to do next, as our jobs have disappeared. The lucky ones among us continue to stay home and work, every now and then having to beg our dog to please be quiet as we login to that super important conference call or have a scheduled chat with the boss. Our poor dog looks at us somewhat perplexed...what on earth is going on? My Mom and Dad are here, just like on weekends, but they're not up for a hike in the woods, a trip to the dog park, or a great game of fetch. How come? Poor guys are bewildered, and quite frankly, bored! What's a responsible dog owner to do?
Boredom Busters for You and Your Dog
Can we go outdoors? Well, with most states opening up now, most of us can, just as long as we practice social distancing and take along a cloth face mask, just in case. For those of us with yards, who might be feeling a little apprehensive about heading out as if nothing's happened, it's a great time to put them to good use. Dogs love a great game of fetch or even just a good runaround. It's a wonderful way to get rid of all that pent up energy and it's so much fun to watch an attack of the zoomies! Then there's the paddling pool, perfect as the weather heats up, and don't forget the garden hose for hours of wet fun!
We've always believed that you can teach an old dog new tricks, so whatever your dog's age, you should definitely dig out those training treats and give it a go! Even if your dog is adept at all the latest tricks, we're sure he'd benefit from a refresher course.
Doggie Spa Treatments
Then there's a little pampering, always a great pick-me-up for ourselves and our best furry friends! Since most grooming salons are either closed right now or are just about to open again and getting that coveted appointment might prove really tough, it might be time to take matters into your own hands and get out those clippers! It might not be perfect, but we're sure your dog won't complain and he'll definitely enjoy your undivided attention for a little while! Need some tools of the trade? We've got everything you need to do a perfect job...clippers, combs, nail clippers, shampoos, conditioners, and even a cute little bow or bandana to complete the look.
It's a Challenge!
Challenging your dog is always a good idea, and now more than ever. There are so many boredom-busting toys out there and you can even make mealtimes fun and more of a challenge. While nothing can really replace a great game of catch or tug-of-war with your dog, puzzle toys can offer a much needed boost of mental stimulation. Often recommended by dog behaviorists, these toys are definitely a must-have for your dog's toy box. For dogs, who aren't inclined to destroy soft plush toys, we love ZippyPaws® great collection of Burrow toys. Our dog loves the Milk and Cookies Burrow, but there are so many others from which to choose. Just a little on the quirky side, these toys are right up our street!
For dogs who like more of a challenge, Nina Ottoson has a great line of puzzle toys offering varying degrees of difficulty, or why not try making some of your own?
For those of you with dogs who love to chew anything and everything that gets in their way, shoes, coffee tables, you know the scenario...you definitely want to make sure they're not bored! Our toy of choice for those dogs is West Paw's Qwizl, the only toy that, as of going to press, our two amazing "Indestructible" toy testers, Honi and Haouli, did not manage to destroy. One of our favorite manufacturers, West Paw, based in Bozeman, Montana, were extremely busy sewing masks in support of our amazing healthcare workers up until recently, but now they're back to designing and manufacturing our favorite toys!
At dinnertime, interactive feeders make quicker eaters slow right down, as your dog "forages" for his food. These amazing feeders require that your dog uses his brain to figure out how to get at his dinner, resulting in him eating much more slowly and improving his digestion. These kind of feeders come in all shapes and sizes offering pet owners the chance to find the degree of difficulty that works best for their dog.
So many dogs enjoy a good book, or perhaps it's just the sound of your dulcet tones they love. Whatever it is, reading to them can be incredibly calming for both of you.
Then there's TV...so many dogs seem to have a favorite show, and the other day, as I was checking out what free cable channels Comcast were currently offering, I came across a free one, designed especially for dogs! What a great find! I checked it out right away and must admit, I did get get a little bored watching a dog wander around a park sniffing every other blade of grass, but I'm sure that's right up your street if you're a dog!
Looking to an uncertain future...
Let's hope we all get back to "normal" soon, whatever that might be. In the meantime, let's stay calm, cuddle our dogs, and try our best to follow the directives given by our leaders, and ultimately, we will triumph!
Please let's be kind to one another...it's so important. Sadly, we must report that Clyde, the beautiful Cocker Spaniel pictured at the top of this post, passed away a couple of months ago. Thankfully, Animal Emergency Care in Bellingham, WA, were incredibly kind and allowed us to say our goodbyes, even though we were in the midst of a pandemic. This was so welcome, as it helped us to process what had happened. Clyde was a senior, but left us quite unexpectedly which was so painful. We're heartbroken, but need to take really good care of Simon, Clyde's brother, as he wonders where on earth the little guy went. We're all hurting I think, but we do know that somewhere out there a new furry friend is waiting for us and soon we will go and look for him, I am sure.
Stay safe everyone, and we'll see you all soon!