Keeping dogs entertained during lockdown

Keeping dogs entertained and exercised during lockdown is causing owners significant stress and anxiety. Because you’re not able to walk them outdoors for the next 21 days, you’re going to have to come up with things for them to do to keep their minds and bodies stimulated and moving. Here’s our list of favourites:

Keeping dogs entertained during lockdown

A dog’s mind needs as much as exercise as his body so it’s important to keep stimulating him during lockdown. His sense of smell comes in very handy here as you can quickly train him to look for treats.

  1. PLAY THE CUP GAME  Take three paper cups, plastic mugs will do if you don’t have paper. Place all three upside down on the floor.  With your dog watching, put a treat under one cup. Now shuffle the cups around. Let your dog try to find the one with the treat. He’ll nose it soon enough. Make sure your treats are healthy because if he’s getting plenty of treats but not going for his daily run he’s at risk of excess weight gain.
  2. CREATE A TREASURE HUNT Lock your dog in one room while you hide several treats around the house – under sofa cushions, in his bed, in a slipper, under his bowl etc. Now let him out and lead him to the first treat, encouraging him to follow you and look for more as you walk around the house. He’ll soon catch on to this game and will seek out his treats.
  3. USE A PUZZLE FEEDER Instead of gulping dinner from a bowl, puzzle feeders force the dog to really work for his food. It’ll keep him entertained for ages as he tries to work out how to access is favourite meal or treats. EberVet Vetshops stock puzzle feeders and Kong toys and we’re open for business during lockdown.
  4. STUFF A KONG TOY These durable yet totally safe toys can be stuffed with peanut butter, liver paste or any of the treats like to eat. You can even freeze them for later. They’ll keep your dog gnawing for hours.
  5. TEACH YOUR DOG NEW TRICKS Has he learned to shake a paw, walk or sit on command, roll over or beg? These are just some of the many tricks you now have the time to teach him. Use treats to encourage learning.

Keeping dogs exercised during lockdown

  1. RUN UP THE STAIRS This obviously only applies if you have a staircase. Put a treat at the top of the stairs while your dog stands at the bottom. Encourage him to fetch it. Repeat from top, placing treat at the bottom. Even better, run up and down with our dog. That takes care of your exercise too.
  2. UP AND UNDER Use a small stool or side table. Teach your dog to crawl under it and then either climb on top or jump over it.
  3. CREATE AN OBSTACLE COURSE Use a broom stick, the mop, several small stools and chairs. Line the chairs up in a row to create a tunnel underneath them. Cover with a blanket, leaving the two ends open. Fix the broomstick and mop handle horizontally at a comfortable height for jumping over or crawling under. Use stools or side tables as up and unders. If you have stairs, incorporate these into your obstacle course. Run/walk the course with your dog encouraging him to participate using treats.

Keeping dogs entertained and exercised during lockdown is as important for your sanity, as theirs. With a little bit of ingenuity, you can get through the next 21 days with your best bud happily at your side.

And don’t forget the cat! Cats, particular the youngsters, need playtime too and they love to play with you: chasing a piece of string, catching a ball, jumping in the air after a feather duster.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy.


Department of Health COVID-19 updates available at


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