Working from home with your dog as you shelter in place during COVID-19? Doggie breaks are the new coffee breaks. 5 fun things to do with your dog in 5 minutes or less.
With the end of COVID-19 craziness still out of sight for most of us, there is no shortage of articles on how to increase productivity while working from home. One of my favorite tips is actually to take frequent breaks. If you’re like me and animal lovers everywhere, your dog is constantly underfoot. It won’t take much convincing (if they’ll wake up) and have your pup take that break with you.
Here are 5 fun things to do with your dog in 5 minutes or less:
- Tug-of-war. This is as simple as it gets, but is so fun and a little rowdy, too. Grab a tug toy or make one out of old jeans or a sweatshirt. Grab one side and offer your dog the other. Get your heart pumping as you play, pulling and tugging side-to-side.
- Hide and Seek. This is a versatile game that you can play differently depending upon how much obedience training your dog has had. If school wasn’t your dog's thing, sneak away without your dog knowing. (If your dog naturally follows you, have a family member or roommate distract or hold on to them.) Then call your dog and chuckle as you watch them become either focused or befuddled. As your dog gets better at the game you can call them more quietly. The key here is to celebrate BIG when they find you...treats, pet them, the whole shebang. If your dog has more training, put them in a “down-stay” and then go hide. Like before, gently call them and still celebrate big when they find you!
- Agility course. The set up may take more than 5 minutes. I gave obstacle course set-up duty to my kids (STEM! P.E.! Done!) and in between Zoom meetings we ran the course with Elsa, my German Shepard, a few times. There are very few rules here. If your dog doesn’t want to follow you through the course, entice them with a treat or a spoonful of almond or peanut butter outstretched in front of them.
-Some ideas for obstacles include jumping over pillows, going under or over chairs and benches, weaving through toilet paper rolls (if you have any, ha!), and performing commands at different stations.
- Play fetch. Again, go back to the basics. This is easy, even meditative, and will wear your dog out so you can be more productive with fewer “come play with me!” interruptions.
- Blow bubbles. If you’ve never blown bubbles with your dog, you need to do this as soon as possible! Of course, some dogs don’t care at all about bubbles. However, if you’re lucky, you will have one that goes bonkers for them. At our house, it’s always good for some comic relief, and we’re always up for that.
Let us know how it goes with these or if you have some winning ideas of your own! Even if these pup-breaks don't make you more productive, at least you and your dog can share some joy. And we all benefit from as many minutes of joy possible! Please pass along your favorite photos or videos of your favorite doggie break activity.
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