Many people don’t realize that doggy boredom is a very serious problem. A bored dog will quickly develop a number of behavioral issues, and the more you ignore these, the worse things will become.
So, how can you tell if your dog is bored? And, more importantly, what can you do about it? Here’s everything you need to know:
How to Tell if Your Dog is Bored
There are a few distinct clues to look out for that will tell you if your dog is bored. The most obvious one is destruction. A bored dog will make their own fun, which could be anything from emptying the bins in your house to shredding your sofa cushions to chewing on shoes. Your first instinct may be to punish them, but this isn’t addressing the boredom. As a result, the issues will only escalate.
If your dog is constantly seeking attention, then that’s another clue. Pawing at you, barking, and whining – these are all signs that your dog is looking for something to do. The same applies to a dog that’s always following you around. While some dogs simply like being near their owners at all times, others do this because they have nothing else to do.
Amp Up the Exercise
The very first step to curing your dog’s boredom is to make sure that they’re getting enough physical exercise. After all, a tired dog is far less likely to be destructive.
If your dog’s main source of exercise is a 15-minute slow walk around the block, then this isn’t going to be enough. Try to add more variety in. Mix up your walking routes so that your dog is exposed to different stimuli on each outing. Try making some of your walks more vigorous too. Include a jog or a run in your route to really get your pooch’s heart pumping.
Don’t forget to also allow plenty of time for your dog to sniff around. This may not seem very exciting to you, but it’s a great form of mental stimulation for your dog. Speaking of which…
Focus on Mental Stimulation
Physical exercise on its own isn’t enough to beat your dog’s boredom. You need to also give your dog’s brain a regular workout too. Brain games can be extremely stimulating, to the point where they can leave a dog even more tired than a long walk can.
There are so many ways to mentally stimulate a dog – you’ll find plenty of ideas online. Some of our favorites include food toys, such as a Kong, snuffle mats, and puzzle toys. Regular toys work well too, but keep these on rotation. This way, you can give your dog a “new” toy every week or so, which will keep them more interested in it.
Develop a Routine
Dogs thrive when they have a regular routine to follow. They like to know what’s happening when – it gives them a huge sense of security.
A routine will also help with your dog’s boredom. If you’ve just fed them a meal and they know that they’ll be going for a walk in a couple of hours, they’re much more likely to spend those hours in between relaxing or napping, rather than being destructive.
Do Plenty of Training
Training is a great way to ease a dog’s boredom. It teaches them something new, making it a form of mental stimulation.
If your dog already knows all of the basics, then use this as an opportunity to take your training to a new level. Even a short 10-minute training session a day will help to keep your dog entertained, while also making them better behaved.
There are so many fun things that you could teach your dog. Start with a few tricks, teaching your dog how to give you a kiss or a hug, or even how to balance a treat on their nose. Alternatively, teach them something useful, like how to bring your mail in or tidy up their toys that are lying around the house. Whatever you choose to teach will really help with your dog’s boredom.
Just like us, dogs need plenty of stimulation to keep their day interesting. If they don’t get this, then boredom will soon set in. Fortunately, there are so many things that you can do to keep your dog’s boredom at bay. Carve out a structured routine that includes daily exercise, mental stimulation, and training, and you’ll see your dog’s boredom fade away in no time!