The Shelter In Place Orders that were enforced by Governers across the USA are slowly lifting, and that means that you’ll be able to get out and start enjoying your life again.
Since the orders were put in place to keep us safe from the Coronavirus, many individuals have found themselves gaining a few pounds.
Weight gain has been so common during the lockdown that the phenomenon has earned itself a nickname: the COVID-15.
It’s not just humans who have struggled to stay active over recent weeks; many dogs will have also spent more time indoors snuggling with their owners than usual and might find that they’re less active and slightly larger.
They’ve probably been spoiled with lots of extra treats too, and that won’t help their weight or energy levels!
At Alliance Of Therapy Dogs, we understand the need to keep your furry friend active and happy and how hard it’s been over the past few months.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips to help you ease your dog back into a regular exercise routine and help them to shift their ‘COVID-15’!
Like humans, dogs need time to adjust to a new situation. They’ve probably just become acclimated to the shelter in place order, and now they’re facing yet another change.
To help them get back into an exercise routine that keeps them healthy and happy, you’ll need to start slowly and build up towards taking them on more walks and going further each time.
Start by taking one additional short walk every day with your dog so that they can get used to being out and about again.
Slowly increase each walk’s length to build up your dog’s stamina and help them adjust to their new walking routine.
Play Fun Games
As well as walking your dog more often, it would help if you also tried to introduce additional types of exercise into their routine, and you can do this easily by playing fun games with them.
Start with simple, energetic games such as fetch or tug of war, and slowly start to spend more time playing with them and getting more involved in their games.
As the shops reopen and you’re able to get out and buy new items, you could also consider purchasing a few new toys to keep them occupied and make playtime even more fun!
Slowly Reduce Their Treat Intake
Exercise isn’t the only factor in staying healthy and active; you’ve also got to watch your diet, and the same goes for your dog.
During the shelter in place order, it’s likely that your dog was getting extra fuss and more treats as you tried to help them to adjust to the ‘new normal.’
Even a few extra pounds can harm a dog and lead to serious health problems, so you need to make sure that you get them back into a healthy routine that involves fewer treats and more exercise.
So, now that you’re able to get out more and take your dog for more trips out, try to reward them for good behavior with a game instead of a biscuit.
They’ll enjoy the extra fuss, and it won’t add anything to their waistline!
Teach Them New Tricks
Teaching your dog to perform new tricks can help you bond with them and get them doing some exercise, however mild.
Start with simple tricks such as play dead or paw, and then move on to more complicated techniques such as dancing with you or patiently sitting with a biscuit on their nose until you allow them to eat it.
If you have a local agility club that has reopened, you could even consider taking them there and teaching them to run the course.
Agility is a fun activity for both owners and dogs, and it will allow you to make new friends and get active at the same time.
Give Them A Purpose
Dogs will become energized and excited if they know they have a role to fulfill, so consider getting your dog tested to become a therapy dog.
Our tester/observers will check that your dog is suitable and guide you both through the process of becoming a therapy dog team. Once we’ve certified them and are happy that they’ll make an excellent therapy dog, you can both start visiting local facilities as they re-open and bringing joy to those who need it.
They’ll not only get out and meet new people but also experience new places and soon get their energy back and become their old, happy self again!
Please find out how you can help our valuable work, get in touch with us on 307-432-0272 or contact us here. We always love hearing from potential members, current members and supporters!