They’re your best friend, the companion that will be with you through everything. Your dog, the one creature you can depend on to forgive you and love you no matter what. When you get a dog, you become the center of their world, and they’re always happy to see you no matter how short of time you’ve been gone. However, you have to keep your dog stimulated and entertained because bored dogs can become destructive dogs. This article will talk about what the signs of a bored dog are, along with ideas to combat that boredom. In fact, we have 16 ways to keep dogs entertained detailed below.
Why do Dogs Get Bored?
Your dog can suffer from boredom for the same reasons people do. They can be understimulated or sick of their routines. They are a lot like kids, and when kids get bored, they pester their parents relentlessly. A study was done by the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom in 2008 to see how quick dogs got bored with the same toys. They brought the toys in and took them away, reintroducing the same toy every few minutes for 30-second intervals. They found that most of the dogs lost interest within two and a half minutes. This study proved that dogs need new, stimulating, and exciting things to keep them occupied and they won’t be satisfied with the same old toys or routines day in and day out. It’s understandable that you can’t be there to play with or entertain your dog every minute of every day, but you have to be ready and able to provide options to keep your dog happy when you’re busy or gone.
Signs Your Dog is Bored
There are several warning signs or symptoms that you have bored dogs on your hands, and we will touch on several of them below.
- Destructiveness. The easiest sign that your dog is bored is them being destructive. This can include things like chewing on things they know they’re not supposed to or shredding pillows and couches. Your dog will do this because its something new and different. These things are also in easy reach.
- Following. Your dog will begin to follow right behind you, room to room. This can be extremely aggravating, but just like your kids when they’re bored; they will pester you to get your attention. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative attention they receive, as long as you’re looking at them and talking to them, they won’t be bored.
- Excessive Barking. Your dog barks for a variety of reasons, from communicating to frustration. Most people want their dogs to be watch dogs and alert them when someone comes, but when it becomes the dog barking at every little noise, it begins to drive their humans crazy.
- Jumping. You dog could start to jump up on you because they have too much pent up energy, or are frustrated and trying to get your attention. Jumping will put them directly in your line of sight and make them almost impossible to ignore. If you have a bigger dog, this could result in injuries.
- Nipping. Any dog can develop this nipping behavior. Nipping will get your attention quicker than almost any other method you dog could deploy. A dog nipping is an equivalent to your child pinching as dogs use their mouths like kids use their hands.
- Whining. A dog can whine for a variety of reasons, anything from showing submissiveness to frustration. Excessive whining can be annoying, but it is a technique that will get you to pay attention.
Techniques to Cure Boredom in Dogs
Boredom can be a terrible thing to deal with in any dog, but there are several easy techniques you can use to fix this problem.
Introducing your dog to new toys will take the boredom factor away. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on them, buy two or three and swap them out. The process of out of sight, out of mind works with dogs. You can also try changing the scents by rubbing them in the grass or spraying them with fabric softener.
A good exercise routine is a key to having a tired, happy dog. This doesn’t have to be an in-depth routine, something as easy as taking them out to throw a ball or on a short walk will help burn off some of the excess energy your dog has. This has the added benefit of helping your dog lose or maintain a healthy weight.
Training your dog or enrolling them in obedience classes is an excellent way to combat boredom. If your dog knows exactly what they can and can’t do, it’ll create a happy and balanced dog. You can train your dog out of bad habits they may have developed like chewing or jumping. This step will take patience and repetition to be successful. If you are successful, you should see a decrease in any destructive behavior.
Paying attention to your dog on a daily basis and initiating play time can curb boredom. Your dog will be excited to play with you and eager to please. This option will also have the bonus of burning off pent-up energy, which will make you dog too tired to be destructive. Do different activities, and change up the times you play every day, so your dog doesn’t fall into a routine.
Doggy daycare is an option that has become more popular in recent years. You get the peace of mind knowing your dog is taken care of all day, and your dog gets to socialize with other dogs. Your dog will be stimulated and learn how to behave in a setting with other dogs. Doggy daycare is done both in-home and at centers, just like a child’s daycare.
Hire a Dog Walker
If your dog doesn’t do well in social settings but needs to get out of the house once or twice during the day, you can hire a dog walker. This will get your dog out into the sunshine, and a long walk will help control any excess energy. You won’t have to worry about accidents because they’ll be able to get outside and go if they need to. Your dog walker can also check your home and make sure your dog hasn’t been destructive and gotten into anything in your absence.
Sixteen Specific Ways to Cure Boredom in Your Dog
There are many ways to cure or alleviate boredom in your dogs, and we are going to list sixteen fun ways below.
1. Play Tug of War. This will give your dog an outlet for any playful aggression. You can use anything from a favorite toy, rope toys, or even your dog’s blanket. Playing tug of war will engage your dog. They will be looking at you, so this will give them a sense of connection.
2. Puzzle or Food Dispensing Toys. This option will stimulate your dog’s brain and make them think so that they can get the treat or food out. A stimulated dog is a happy dog, and it can lead to some quiet time for the owner.
3. Chew Toys. If you give your dog something to chew on, chances are they will leave your possessions alone. There are many different chew toys available for every type of dog. A chew toy can also clean your dog’s teeth.
Try one of these great tried and tested toys
4. Play Finding Games. Playing hide and seek with treats is a good way to stimulate your dog to work for their treat. Some dogs have to have a job to be happy, and this is a simple option to give them the ‘job’ of finding the treats.
5. Change up Your Walk A new route on your walk will give your dog new surroundings to explore. This will stimulate their brain and burn more energy because they’re trying to explore a new place.
6. Give Your Dog a Job. Some dog breeds are built to work, and without a job, they can fall prey to boredom. Giving your dog a job can be as easy as putting a harness or pack on your dog and give them something to carry on walks. I have taught mine to pick up his toys and help me put clothes in the washing basket. Your dog will feel useful, and this will stave off boredom.
7. Socialize. Your dog is traditionally a pack animal and will be happier with other dogs. This serves a dual purpose, as they will entertain and play with one another.
8. Teach Tricks and Commands. This point goes back to giving your dog a job. They get rewarded for doing them correctly, and this will make your dog concentrate and think. If they’re learning something new, they won’t have time to be bored.
9. Visit New Places. Taking your dog to a new location gives them space to explore. There will be new scents and sounds for them to check, as well as space to look around.
10. Visit a Lake. If your dog likes water, take them to the lake. Swimming is an excellent way to burn excess energy, as well as working as low-impact exercise. Your dog will come back tired and happy.
11. Freeze Treats. If you freeze your dog treats, this will give them a new challenge to eat them. They will have to work harder to get the reward, and this will keep them occupied and distracted.
12. Rotate Toys. If you rotate your dog’s toys, they will seem like new every time they are introduced. You can also alter the smell of the toys each time you give it to your dog. This will help hold your dog’s interest longer and save you money because you won’t be buying new toys every other day.
13. Let Your Dog See Outside. Letting your dog see outside by setting up a special area for them will make them feel like they’re not alone. They get the benefit of knowing what is going on outside of their territory, and this can decrease their anxiety. You get the peace of mind knowing they’re safe at home.
14. Make Your Dog Work for Their Food. If you have your dog work for their food instead of just giving it to them, this will encourage them to think. Your dog will focus on getting their food and view it is a job. This will make them feel more useful.
15. Create a Digging Box. A digging box can save your yard or flower beds by giving your dog their own area to dig to their heart’s content. They will be able to bury their treasures without disturbing anything of yours.
16. Hire a Dog Walker. A dog walker is an easy, doable option to keep your dog entertained. Your dog will learn to look forward to their daily walks, and they will be able to get out of the house. The dog walker can take them different routes, and introduce them to different smells and sites. Your dog will come home tired and happy because this option will burn excess energy.
Your dog is your best friend, and it only makes sense that you want the best for them. The key to having a happy and mentally healthy best friend is to alleviate their boredom. If you notice your dog is showing boredom signs like were listed in this article, it might be worth it to try some of the boredom-alleviating tips and tricks listed above. Just remember, bored dogs are destructive dogs and you want your dog to be stimulated so they remain the happy pet you know and love.