A new tool has been launched today which lets dog lovers calculate the number of times they need to lap their garden with their dog to give them the exercise they need. Work Out Your Walkies is a free calculator; you simply tell it your dog's breed and age and the rough dimensions of your garden to find out how many times you need to walk around it to give your dog the exercise they need.
NOTE: This is based on advice from Nick Jones MA, Dog Behaviourist at Alpha Dog Behaviour and does not constitute official advice. If you're unsure, always consult your vet.
The tool has been produced to help dog lovers during the coronavirus lockdown. It also comes as Google data reveals the number of people searching to 'buy a dog' has increased 82% between March and April as people consider a canine companion; by using the tool, prospective pet owners get a good understanding of how much work goes into caring for a pooch (a dog is for life, not just for lockdown, after all).
Scott McGlynn is a fashion blogger who lives alone with his two dogs. He explained how lockdown is affecting his daily routine.
"I can't go to my normal dog park anymore, People are in there and it feels like we can't go in there because they are, which is sad. We are reduced on where we can walk and go with my dogs.
"I have a 1 year old puppy so shes playful with the balls and toys so she gets my standard poodle all playful and we have to play tug or fetch to keep their mind going and being active with them, It is hard on a lead they cant run and be free on what they are used to."
CLICK HERE TO USE THE CALCULATOR
Of course, while physical stimulation is vital to your dog, so too is mental stimulation. Nick Jones - who collaborated with pet insurance comparison site Money.co.uk to produce the tool for dog lovers - provided further advice to help you keep your dog feeling entertained and alert:
Introduce new games for them to enjoy
Games such as hide and seek can be a great way to keep your dog entertained. Choose some of their favourite toys and treats to hide around your house or flat and encourage your pup to find them all with hints and tips. You can even make dinner time a little more exciting by hiding some of their food around the house.
Treat them to new toys or things to explore
o If you have any new toys or objects for them to play with, now is the time to introduce them. Pet shops remain open during this lockdown so if you have to pop in to buy more food or other supplies for your pooch why not treat them to a new toy for them to enjoy.
Old dogs really can learn new tricks
Dogs young and old secretly love to learn new tricks (even if you don’t think they do!). Reinforcing the standard tricks such as “sit”, “lie down”, and “roll over” can be an easy way to keep their brains engaged if they are stuck inside. Don’t forget to reward them as well!
Games and puzzles are not just for you
o There are now so many toys and apps available to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Most of them have different degrees of difficulty so you can adjust as your dog improves. You can also make one of your own using a cardboard box/toilet roll tube with small holes in and treats inside. Make sure to only use a portion of your dog’s daily food for games in order to avoid overfeeding.
Pop on a puppy-friendly podcast or TV show
o It’s no secret that your dog might react to other animals on your TV as they would when meeting other furry friends outside on their usual walk. They may even start barking or running behind the screen! This can be an easy way to keep them moving around and their brains active (and you entertained in the process).
It's also worth keeping an eye on the benefits of having so much time at home with your pet. While lockdown is tough for everyone, we don't always have this privilege. James Congdon, a recruitment specialist who lives alone with his dog Rudi, explained:
“Having the dog to walk has definitely enabled me to create a better routine, because ultimately, he needs to be exercised and so I fit it into my day. It means that I take the steps to move away from the computer and switch off from work for the hour that we walk.”
Here's to keeping out furry friends fit and healthy at home!