Are you spending more time at home during this epic pandemic? Do your children want you to entertain them non-stop? How about your dog? Is it pacing the room, looking for something to do?

If your answer is “yes”, and to make the most of being confined at home, why not use this opportunity to explore entertaining and educational activities for your family and pets. These are sites that I use to tap into new insights on training methods or to hear experts in the field talk about their experiences. Most of these sites are offering free webinars now.

As of this writing, we can still go out to walk the dog as long as we keep the recommended distance of six to 10 feet from other humans. If you have always wanted your dog to stop pulling on the leash, Denise Fenzi has a series of webinars to teach your dog to walk with a loose leash and not overreact when it sees another dog or person. I find her method to be super easy, and can be practiced while out on walks.

Go to fenzidogsportsacademy.com and look for the leash walking webinar that has already aired.

Also on the Fenzi site are other webinars and courses that you might find interesting on general training, behavior problems, dog training as a profession and dog sports. Many are inexpensive and can be useful when trying to figure out how to change dog behaviors.

For a reasonable cost, you can find all sorts of animal topics from aromatherapy for pets to feather pulling in birds.

There is also behavior theory and training on Raising Canine. The webinars are by instructors who are recognized professionals in their fields and easy to understand.

Go to https://www.raisingcanine.com/education/od-webinars/

Does your dog or cat hate going to the veterinarian or groomer?

Could you use some tips to make it less fearful and easier to handle? Maybe you have a puppy or kitten that you are trying to socialize. FearFree.com has a course for pet owners with lessons you can try at home.

Go to https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/courses/training-and-socialization-101/.

Many veterinarians and trainers are also using this site to bring the Fear Free program into their practices.

Behavior training

Chirag Patel on YouTube and his website DomesticatedManners.com creatively train all sorts of behaviors using positive reinforcement.

If you want some help with modifying inappropriate aggressive behaviors, Michael Shikashio’s website AggressiveDog.com and Facebook page under his name is a good resource. He is also on some of the sites above.

Shikashio’s methods to help pet owners are simple (relatively), gimmick-free and science-based.

Fun activities

For entertainment on those long walks you are taking, try these dog and animal podcasts such as Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast, Dog Talk with Dr. Jen, Drinking from the Toilet, Zoo Logic, and the Animal Training Academy.

Finally, for the most fun with your children and your dog, try teaching your dog, and yes, cat tricks. You can even earn a trick dog title with the American Kennel Club (AKC). Start here at https://www.akc.org/sports/trick-dog/ for information on how to apply for the title and find resources to get started.

There are several Canine Good Citizen evaluators locally, including myself, who can evaluate for your titles. There are dozens of YouTube videos and books to help with trick training.

Start with something simple like shake hands, put two feet on a low box or even four feet on a box. Voila! You have started the go to bed command without even letting your dog know that you are training.

Have fun with your children and pets to make up for these uncertain times, and let’s turn this physical distancing into an opportunity for social bonding with fun and educational activities in your home.

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