Do you have a dog that…
Barks all day long?
Chews on everything?
Sleeps all day long?
Gets overly excited at everything?
Frequently escapes from your yard?
If your answer is “yes” to any of those questions, then your dog is probably bored out of his mind.
Many people don’t realize this, but dogs do get bored. Your dog was born with the instinct to explore and roam the wild for miles every day. If he doesn’t get to fulfill those instincts every now and then, he’ll have a lot of pent-up energy that may lead to lethargy or behavioral problems.
It’s your job to mentally stimulate your dog and to give him something to do when you’re busy or gone. Your dog is so much more than a toy or a lawn ornament. He’s a living and breathing creature that thinks, socializes, and explores. Simply putting him out in the yard, kenneling up him all day, or just basically having him in the room with you is not enough to let him fulfill his basic instincts and social needs.
You need to actively alleviate your dog’s boredom. Here are 5 ways to do that:
- Take your dog for a walk. Did you know that dogs that are walked on a regular basis are less likely to exhibit behavioral issues? Walking your dog allows him to fulfill his roaming instincts, and it puts him in a calm state of mind. Contrary to popular belief, fenced-in yards aren’t enough to give dogs the amount of exercise they need. To them, fenced-in yards are just bigger kennels where they can’t socialize or explore.
- Give your dog the right toys. Just because your dog has tons of toys doesn’t mean he’s not bored. Not all toys will capture and keep your dog’s attention for a prolonged period of time. A recent study published in the journal Animal Cognition covered why dogs like certain toys and dislike others. The study concluded that dogs prefer toys that taste like food or can be torn apart. They’re also partial to toys that make noise, while they quickly lose interest in noiseless toys that have hard surfaces. If you give your dog the right toys, he’ll keep himself entertained for hours!
- Teach your dog tricks. Dogs crave knowledge. They want to learn things, and they want to please you. If you take time to teach your dog basic commands and tricks, your dog will be kept occupied and his brain won’t turn into mush!
- Socialize your dog. Dogs are very social creatures. If your dog is kept isolated for a long period of time, he’ll go nuts! He needs to be around other people and animals. Send him to a doggy day care, take him to a dog park, schedule a play date with other dog owners, or have your friends and relatives come over and play with him.
- Most importantly, give your dog plenty of attention! Instead of having your dog lay in a dark corner when you’re watching TV, have him lay on your lap. Instead of having your dog idly sit next to you when you’re eating lunch, give him a bone to chew on. Give him a lot of hugs and kisses, and cuddle with him whenever you can. Just spend quality time with your dog and let him know that you haven’t forgotten about him.
Enriching your dog’s environment, socializing him, and giving him a lot of attention is more than enough to keep your dog occupied and happy. Don’t let boredom get the best of him!