Using the five senses to bond with your dog during COVID-19

April 01, 2020

Using the five senses to bond with your dog during COVID-19

Self-isolating and staying at home? Feeling worried, tired, or bored? Here are five ways to pass the time with your furry companion.

With talk of COVID-19 all over the news, we understand that right now is a very stressful and scary time for a lot of pet parents. But remember – this interval spent at home doesn’t have to be wasted! Our pets still need love and affection, so consider this a great time to get reacquainted with them. Not sure where to begin? Let’s take explore a few ways you can bond with your dog through the five senses!

Touch

Your animal can pick up on your emotions. If you’re feeling anxious during this time of uncertainty, chances are that your furry friend is too. A gentle grooming session – with the right tool – can help bring you closer with your pet. This is especially important during this period of self-isolation, when both of you need to feel that sense of connection. Taking time out of your day to focus on just him can help you both unwind and reconnect, and assist you in feeling fully present.

Smell

Do you have a high-energy dog? Nosework is the sport of detecting scent. This fun game – which involves hiding treats for your pup to sniff out –can help prevent boredom when your outdoor exercise time is limited. Consider incorporating it into your walks to boost your canine’s mental stimulation, or play it when you’re stuck indoors! It’s an exciting activity that allows your dog to use and improve his natural scent detection skills in a short period of time.

Sound

French otolaryngologist Dr. Alfred Tomatis suggested that certain sounds can help balance and stabilize the nervous system. Since his original hypothesis, many psychologists have researched how music can affect anxiety levels in animals, particularly dogs and cats. Most research has found that classical music, or music with long and sustained notes, helps to relax canine motor activity and nervous systems. If you and your furry pal are feeling jittery, consider putting on some Bach – it can help keep you both calm in moments of stress and anxiety!

Taste

Taking the time at home to hone your cooking skills? One way to bond with your pup is by cooking a healthy, dog-friendly recipe like baked sweet potato skins or pumpkin cranberry muffins that the two of you can share! Think of it as a fun activity that can help break up your long days at home.

Sight

All dogs love to be rewarded, so if you’re looking for an activity to do – try playing hide-and-seek! This game teaches your dog that staying close to you can be rewarding, as he’ll feel a boost of endorphins (that’s the reward) when he finds you. You’ll have fun too, watching your dog search and become familiar with your hiding spots. Playing hide-and-seek is another way to play away the long hours at home and combat boredom in the house.  

Being home can be mentally taxing – especially when you can’t see your friends and family. While self-isolation can be tough, remember that you already have your best friend with you. Try using one (or all!) of your five senses to bond with your dog today – and watch the hours just fade away!