A bored dog is bad news. Bored dogs are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems, such as barking, digging holes, or causing destruction to your property. More importantly, a dog with nothing to do is an unhappy creature. If you want to provide the best possible life for your beloved pet, then relieving their boredom is important.
Dogs, like all animals, are guided by various natural instincts. Allow your dog’s natural instincts to be channeled into positive activities by giving it proper stimulation and interaction. Just as a person would be dissatisfied with sitting in the same small area with nothing to do all day, so will a dog. Your dog is a living creature, not a furry ornament. With the prevention of destructive behaviors and your dog’s wellbeing in mind, here are the best ways to cure your dog’s boredom.
1. Walk your dog even if your dog has room to run around.
Some owners think that if their dog has a large yard to play in, the dog doesn’t need to go on walks. This is wrong because walks are not just about physical exercise for a dog. A walk is a chance for your pet to experience new sensations, sights, and (most important to a dog) smells. Dogs like to be stimulated and excited by interacting with different environments. If your canine has behavioral problems like aggression, walks will also give them a chance to socialize and learn that other people and animals are not threats to be feared. Make sure to change the route you take on your walk from time to time. Not only will your dog appreciate the variety, but you’ll have a more mentally stimulated and thus a more tired dog when the walk is finished.
2. Provide safe chew toys.
If your dog is chewing on furniture, it’s probably because he doesn’t have enough toys to keep him entertained. This is particularly true for young canines, who love to chew on everything – but even in older dogs the instinct to chew and tear is ever present. Provide a variety of intriguing toys to keep your dog interested. On occasion, get new toys to renew interest (or rotate old toys in and out). You can either buy toys or make them homemade. Toys that contain dog treats are particularly good. Your dog will love the challenge of trying to work the tasty treat out of the toy. Check out our favorite dog chew toy here.
3. Play games with your dog.
Chew toys are great, but your dog will grow bored with them too if that is his only form of play. Plus, dogs love interacting with people, so your pet will appreciate a game with you more. A simple game of fetch will bring your dog immense joy. You can also play tug-of-war with an old rope, or even hide-and-go-seek. Any game that keeps your dog occupied and happy will do. Energetic games also burn up canine energy, making misbehavior less likely.
4. Train your dog new things.
Not only will your dog like being trained, but trained dogs are better behaved and can be told to stop bad actions. Training is also very mentally draining for dogs. Remember, dogs need mental challenges just like people do. Training will drain you pet’s mental and physical energy, so he will be less likely to act out. If your dog already knows basic commands, try teaching him harder, more challenging tricks. On the other hand, if you don’t have time for training yourself, consider sending your pooch to a professionally taught course.
5. Introduce your dog to fellow canines.
Dogs are highly social creatures. While interacting with humans alone can be sufficient for a dog’s social needs, meeting other dogs too can be even better. If your dog has difficulties with aggression — like snapping at other pets — interacting with other dogs in a controlled environment can have a positive effect. Try meeting up with a canine-owning friend for a doggy playdate, going to a dog park, or sending your dog to a group training class. Of course, getting another dog is also a possibility. If you must leave your dog alone for hours a day, an additional dog might be the best solution to boredom. Another great solution for those who work all day is to drop your dog off at a doggy daycare once or twice per week.
6. Spend more time with your dog.
Just being with you will make your dog less bored. Dogs are social animals who want to be around other creatures. You don’t even have to directly interact with your animal friend — you could be working on your computer or watching TV while your dog sits. Your pet will be glad of the company and will be less likely to start chewing on the furniture or engaging in other bad behavior. If your dog does do something wrong, you are there to correct him. Paying him a little attention once in a while — like scratching behind his ears — will help forestall boredom. Don’t forget to give your dog plenty of cuddle time as well!
These six ways of relieving your dog’s boredom should be helpful for just about any dog. However, remember that each dog has its own temperament, and different breeds have different tendencies. A canine from a high-energy breed may need far more exercise and stimulation than the average dog. Similarly, young dogs and puppies are more energetic than older canines.
Your dog deserves to live a happy and rewarding life full of interesting experiences and stimulation. A bored, discontented dog will be prone to acting out in destructive ways. Luckily, dogs are rather simpler creatures than us humans. While humans have a multitude of wants and needs, dogs only require a few basic things –engaging activities being one of them. Prevent bad behavior and make your dog happy by relieving canine boredom.
Written By: Carlton Ryan