Maintaining Some Sanity During Summer in Las Vegas, Nevada during Covid-19
You're stir crazy, your dogs are stir crazy, it's miserably hot outside and all your usual summer activities are closed, not pandemic friendly or worse - crazy crowded. I don't know about you, but this introvert is not going anywhere crowded. So what do you do? Honestly, I don't know. Me personally, I'm doing home projects and I'm enjoying it. Hopefully, you have found a way to stay sane. But what about your dog(s)? My dogs think this is ridiculous and they really don't get why we aren't going anywhere. I'm doing whatever I can to keep them entertained and I thought I would share some of the things I'm doing.
First, we start the day with a walk, as early as possible. I hate mornings but 6:00 is about the only time to walk without melting.
Once we have cooled off from our walk, breakfast is served. But not in a boring bowl. I like to rotate between the following slow feeders:
Prada- above flips the slow feeder over or she'll just shake the food out of the snuffle mat. So I made my own ginormous snuffle mat. It took forever and I didn't finish the last corner. But it works! I went to Lowe's and bought a rubber mat similar to this one, bought fleece at wal-mart, cut it up and tied the pieces in. Here's a YouTube video with instructions on how to make your own mat. You can also do the same thing with a Hol-ee Roller.
Here are several other items I use for treats:
Lickimat - these are great to spread peanut butter on. Just remember not all peanut butter is safe. Stick with the regular or all-natural peanut butter and stay away from anything that has xylitol, which is harmful to dogs.
As you can see from the chewed off edge on mine, these are not safe to leave with your dog unattended. as soon as your dog is done, you should take it away.
Hol-ee Rollers are also great for putting cookies inside. I use either Trader Joe's dog cookies or the ones here are Wag More Bark Less. The first few times are pretty fun to watch. Once they figure it out, they are much faster and to the point about getting to the cookie.
Kongs are also great for putting cookies inside. I also use the Wag More Bark Less cookies for this, specifically the one that isn't so round. This is only good for dogs with jaws strong enough to break the cookie. My two smaller dogs can't get the cookies out of even the pink puppy Kong.
West Paw Toppl - great for filling with bone broth, Honest Kitchen*, sweet potatoes, etc. I usually use plain yogurt mixed with either pumpkin or peanut butter.
West Paw Tux - same as above. Sometimes I'll mix plain yogurt and Honest Kitchen.
*Pro-Tip on the Honest Kitchen: Every now and then Amazon will have a special for half off if you choose the Subscribe and Save option. If you just use it for stuffing West Paw toys, Kongs, and other toys to freeze, it will last a long time and it's worth it at half off.
Here's my usual toy stuffing mix:
Don't be fooled by the measuring cup, that's just what I use as my mixing bowl. I don't measure, I just guess. Usually, half the yogurt, the full can of pumpkin and then I soak about a 1/2 cup of Honest Kitchen in water, once the HK is ready, I mix it up and fill the toys. I use an old Costco spinach container to keep the toys upright. Sometimes I go wild and stick a chicken foot in. Then freeze and delish treat the next day.
Lastly, Kong Ziggies are nice to add to the mix. I don't use them that often because my dogs don't need giant treats like that regularly and they are a little pricey. But they are nice to give them on occasion. They are easy to stuff and depending on the dog last between 5 minutes and an hour. I know that's a pretty wide range, but that's what I've found in my home.
Here are a couple of videos with a few more ideas:
you can also teach your dog some tricks. Tricks are fun, can be done indoors, with little space, and are great for mental stimulation, but that's a whole separate blog!
Hopefully, this gives you some new ideas on entertaining your dog a little bit while there isn't much fun stuff going on. I would love to hear what other people are doing to entertain your dogs during this crazy time, so please share your ideas with me in the comments!
I'm currently offering morning sessions since the morning temperatures are really nice, but it does require getting up super early to catch the nice light. So for those non-morning folks, I'm also offering mini afternoon sessions. It's too hot to do a regular session, which generally lasts between 90 and 120 minutes. But it's a nice opportunity to do a quick session at a location that is beautiful for a few shots but wouldn't be ideal for a full session. For more information on either of these options, feel free to schedule a call with me.
Please note, with Covid restrictions, I will be shooting most of the session with a long lens, which works out well because that's my favorite lens anyway. I will also provide more detailed instructions upon scheduling a session.