Fun tips for self isolation with your dog

Person sitting with their arm resting on a dog

The main problem with isolation for your dog will be boredom and possibly lack of exercise, so finding ways of keeping them active is very important. If you have space outdoors, take a look at our suggested games to play outside with your dog. These are all great to help keep your dog mentally stimulated and some of them will work indoors too. If you must isolate, think of it as an opportunity rather than a problem if you can - enrich that isolation!

Make the most of this extra time!

Isolation is a perfect time to work on your relationship and training regime at home. Even without going out, your dog can learn the basics of a range of training exercises. Take some tips from this page and implement them. Then, when you can go out for walks, put things into action and do not let either yourself or your dog fall back into old bad habits.

Bonding

Add more exercises to your repertoire to make training more fun and fulfilling. Add tricks and games, including lots of searching games to add a bit of zest to your relationship. Again, check the games page here.

Photo shoot

Film or photograph your progress! This is a skill if you are alone with your dog – learn how and where to place the camera, and how to get the best shots. Teach your dog to pose by using your control skills and progressing them. Put your best shots online and see if you can get shot for The Kennel Club’s #TongueOutTuesday on social media.

Stay fit

Can your dog ‘bow’? If not, teach them to do so and then try to do a press-up by their side! Your dog might think this strange if you have always just asked for the behaviour, so gradually move to the dog’s side and then step start to take up the pose step by step over a series of getting closer style moves. Think of more ways of keeping fit together. How about an easy one - step on step off – paws on paws off. You don’t have to you don’t have to have formal step equipment, just use what you have got. Also, check out The Kennel Club Heelwork to Music ‘How to’ video. See if you can teach a routine to your dog!

(Balance) gym balls

Gym balls are cheap and easily sourced on the internet from mainstream stores – make sure they are ‘anti-burst’. This is another good one for ‘paws on’ and even at the more advanced level balance. Why not buy one for you and one for the dog? Alternatively, you can teach your dog to push a balance ball with their nose by placing a treat just underneath the bottom of the ball. Check out videos on the internet and give it a go.

Yoga mat

Do you have an old yoga mat in your shed gathering dust? Get it out and teach your dog to roll it out as if they were rolling out a carpet. Roll it up tightly and place a treat under the first part of the roll, let your dog sniff for the treat and as they do the mat will roll a little way back. Repeat a few more times and then add more treats further back in the roll so your dog learns to push the roll out to retrieve their reward. Once they have the idea, just one treat at the end is all it will take to keep them motivated in rolling out the carpet – if you don’t have a mat try a rolled-up towel.

Treats

Make some homemade dog treats. There are lots of recipes on the internet. Your dog will be drooling and you can use them for training or just to give your dog as a treat because they are special.

Teeth

All these treats?! Better work on cleaning your dog’s teeth! If it’s not a skill you have perfected then now is the time. Start by showing your dog the brush – reward your dog for their interest. Then slowly work towards being able to hold your dog’s head still, then the brush near the mouth and so on. Reward your dog for little touches around the mouth. Take your time and keep rewarding until you find your dog will offer their muzzle for teeth cleaning, knowing they will receive a treat.

Please note: there are many different ways to train your dog. This is just one method of teaching. If you are ever in doubt, please seek professional advice. 

For more information and advice, you can find training classes with The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme, browse our full list of The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors or find a dog training club near you.