How To Keep Your Pets Busy During Shelter In Place

With the current rules and restrictions in place due to COVID-19, it has majorly impacted daily routines causing anxiety for both pets and humans. It’s important to find the silver lining and use this time to do things you may not have had the time to do before. SAGE recommends pet parents to take this opportunity to spend more time with their pets. Especially now, because pets are being kept inside for extended periods of time. 

Here are a few ideas for both dogs and cats to keep them busy during shelter in place: 


Teach Commands with reward-based training: This is the best and effective way of training dogs and addressing unwanted behavior. The AKC has some great tips on training. 

Freeze the dog treats:  Freeze a treat or some kibble in a freezer-safe container with water and freeze it. Your dog will have fun waiting, licking, and finally getting the treat. 

The Name Game: You can teach your dog toy names and ask them to fetch, for example, “lamb,” “teddy,” “ball,” and have your dog put them in a container to tidy up. Here are some resources from the AKC on how to start the training: 

Shell Game:  A game involving three inverted cups with an object, in this case, a treat or toy underneath. Move the cups or containers around and have your dog find the cup with the reward. 

FIND IT:  Hide treats and toys around your home and create a scavenger hunt! Your dog will use all their senses and have fun hunting the treat down.

Chewing and licking are natural behaviors for dogs:  Purchase a Kong, and it will keep your dog busy for hours. The chewing will also help with good dog dental hygiene. If your dog is really good, you can even fill the Kong with treats for your dog to get out. 

Go for walks:  Many parks are closed due to the shelter in place order, but you can still get outside and walk the neighborhood with your four-legged friend. Take them down a street they have never been before. Your dog will love all the new smells and experiencing a different area. Just make sure you’re practicing social distancing and keeping 6 feet apart. 


Hunting and fishing games:  Hide or toss toy mice or other cat toys around the house and let your cat hunt, pounce, kill! You can also take some string or ribbon and turn it into a fishing rod, then swing it around the room/home and let your cat chase it. 

Hide and Seek: Hide treats in areas of the home and have your cat use their senses to find it and reward themselves. 

Create an agility course:  Cats love to run and jump! Help build their confidence and create an agility obstacle course. Having your cat do these fun and new courses will not only keep them busy but tire them out. Here are great ideas by PetFinder on courses you can make! 

Clicker training: Teach your cat a new trick! YES! You can teach your cat tricks! Like high five and come here, or you can play with the clicker and have your cat chase it around the house. Learn how to clicker train your cat here by Adventure Cats.

It’s important to remember in this uncertain time that we are all in this together! SAGE understands the significant role your pet has within your family. Take this time to further bond with your fur-friend and show some extra love and attention.  

Resources and credits: 

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