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Keeping Your Dog Active While You're Staying Home

 March 23, 2020

As many states enter their first full week of stay-at-home mandates in an effort to flatten the curve of the corona virus, many of us find ourselves experiencing heightened anxiety and concerns about the future. That’s normal. Staying informed on developments, practicing social distancing and good hygiene, and keeping occupied are all methods we can use to help us through these unprecedented times.

But what about our furry family members? Their worlds have also changed quite a bit. Many are used to being home alone or maybe with just one family member during the day. And now the house is full of activity all day, every day. And make no mistake, our pets sense the anxiety and uncertainty we owners are feeling.

Activity Breeds Happiness

So how do you keep your pup happy and maintain his or her training throughout this time?  You may be surprised to hear that to some degree, the answer depends on the breed – or more specifically to the group into which your dog breed falls.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) assigns breeds to one of seven groups when the dog is registered. These groups represent the characteristics and functions for which the dogs were originally bred. Those seven groups are:

  • Herding
  • Hound
  • Toy
  • Non-sporting
  • Sporting
  • Terrier
  • Working

In the coming days and weeks, Alden’s Kennels will share tips and tricks to help keep your dog happy and well-trained while everyone is at home. First up, let’s look at Sporting Dogs.

Sporting Dogs have all the Fun

Dogs in the “Sporting” group of the AKC include some of the more common breeds including all types of Spaniels, Retrievers, Setters and Pointers. They are naturally active and alert dogs that are exceedingly likable and make great companions. Dogs in this group were first developed to work closely with hunters to locate and retrieve quarry. They have superior instincts in water and woods which means many of these breeds enjoy hunting and other field activities. And they all require regular, invigorating exercise!

If you have a sporting dog at home, keep them occupied with the activities they genetically love to do including chase, catch, find and fetch. You can also incorporate hand signals when working on basic obedience with them. These tasks include sit, down, come, stand and send out.

If you want to really advance your training, consider using a whistle blow. Assign a specific type of whistle to each command. For example, one extended whistle for come, two short whistles for fetch. Just be sure to use the same whistle for its assigned command at every lesson. And reward your pup with an encouraging belly rub or treat when they perform.

Finally, tennis balls are a great training tool and a close replication of what your sporting dog was bred to do in the fields. So as the weather warms take your pup to the backyard – at a socially acceptable distance from neighbors – and throw the tennis ball, incorporating its use in training just as you would whistles and hand signals.

Pet Safety and Training is Our Priority

During days of stay-at-home and social distancing, finding new ways to connect with the community at large is critical. At Alden’s Kennel we hope these blogs give you a stress-free break as well as some useful tips on keeping your dog happy. Visit us anytime at to learn more.