It’s hard not being able to take your dogs on their usual walks around the neighborhood or to the park, where they meet their other furry friends. But, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, humans and their companion animals are forced to stay at home and limit going outside as much as possible.

Paramita Das, a canine trainer and behaviorist, talked with The Telegraph over the phone to answer most common questions asked by pet owners now that they are stuck with their pets at home.

During lockdown we are not being able to take our dogs for walks. Does this affect their mood?

If you used to walk your dogs everyday and do outdoor activities most of the time, they will surely miss it. Especially for younger pups who have more energy to spare. What you need to do, she says, is to create indoor exercises that provide mental stimulation like Find It (with treats and toys), Hide and Seek, and Retrieving and Fetch games. With time to spare, you can also teach them new tricks or practice their commands. Have fun with these indoor activities, and they will surely forget about the outside.

What are some of the problems faced by dog owners during the pandemic?

The problems could range from chewing inappropriate things to destructive behavior. Canines who are used to doing their job outdoors might also have challenges with their toilet habits now that they’re limited to the inside.

It might also be a good thing for dogs and cats now that their humans are spending so much time at home, but some potential issues may arise after this period when parents had to go back to work. Pets may suffer from separation anxiety. It is advisable to give your pets some alone time during this lockdown period so they do not have to be dependent to you all the time.

Most pet shops are closed now. Any alternate to dog food and treats?

Das recommends a balanced home-cooked meal can also be given to your pets. However, it is important not to give toxic food for dogs, like chocolates, grapes, raisins and some kinds of nuts.

You may check recipes that are provided by pet nutritionists online to follow or make treats good for your companion animals. If your pet has any health issues, it would be best to consult your veterinarian first before giving them any food.

Any tips for those who have a puppy at home?

At an early age, you can already teach your puppy rules at your home, like places to pee, sitting, or even greeting people right instead of jumping from excitement. It is important to teach them what is an acceptable behavior and what is not by using reward-based training technique.

But what’s most important is to have fun while teaching them, while also involving your whole family in the household so that the pup can be a good canine citizen.

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