If you’re a parent who always dreads the beginning of summer vacation, awaiting the first time your kids stand in front of you, sigh loudly, and say, “I’m bored,” you probably don’t want to hear dogs can suffer from boredom as well. While you may not think of your dog being prone to boredom, mental stimulation and physical activities can help your dog occupy at least some its active time.
A bored dog can show its frustration in many different ways, most of which result in undesirable actions. Helping your dog overcome boredom will require a bit of time and effort on your part, but it’ll be worth it to avoid damage from giant holes in your yard!
Symptoms of Boredom in Dogs
Before you chalk up odd behavior in your dog to boredom, be sure you’ve had a veterinarian check the dog thoroughly for any physical ailments. An ill dog may exhibit some symptoms similar to what you’d find with a bored dog.
And it’s important to remember that a bored dog isn’t behaving in a harmful way because it’s trying to punish you. The dog is simply trying to entertain itself, sometimes leading to poor behavior. So don’t become resentful of the dog because of the behavior resulting from boredom.
Five common behaviors from bored dogs include the following:
A dog looking for mental stimulation often will begin barking at anything, especially if the barking results in attention–negative or otherwise–from the owner.
Dogs left on their own for several hours at a time may turn to chewing furniture. I once owned a dog that spent a lonely evening eating a set of kitchen cabinets, because I didn’t know any better as a novice dog owner. Crating the dog will solve this problem, but it won’t actually prevent boredom.
While many dogs enjoy being outside, if they’re left outdoors alone for hours at a time, many will begin digging holes throughout your yard. Several shorter periods of time spent outside are better than a single long period.
Dogs are smart. And if they’re left alone for hours in an area where you think they’re confined by a gate or a fence, some dogs will figure out how to escape.
A bored dog looking for any kind of attention may begin urinating in the house. Again, crating is one way to fix this problem, but there are other ways to solve the boredom issue.
Dealing With Boredom in Dogs
Because your dog probably spends more than a dozen hours per day sleeping or resting, you might feel like your dog is bored most of the time. In reality, when the dog is awake and active, it needs to have mental stimulation.
Some breeds need more activity and stimulation than other breeds, so if you’re looking to adopt a dog, make sure you can handle his or her activity needs. You certainly don’t want an especially active dog to become bored, as a more active dog could cause more damage when it seeks activity to combat its boredom. Consider a dog day-care option to keep your dog active at times where you cannot be with it. Or some active dogs respond well to obedience classes or agility classes, so consider those to keep the dog stimulated.
Fortunately, providing your dog with mental stimulation can be a lot of fun for both of you. Playing ball with the dog, teaching it a new trick, or going on a walk can be a way for a dog to avoid boredom. Even going in the back yard and playing for short bursts of time can be enjoyable for the dog, keeping it busy and entertained. So find some activities that you both enjoy and spend some time with your dog, giving you a good chance to avoid the destructive behavior that accompanies dog boredom!
Finally, use puzzle toys while you are away or even while you’re home to work your dog’s brain and tire him or her out mentally. Amazon sells lots of puzzle toysthat are affordable and fun to give your dog.
If you need help with mental stimulation for your dog, or if your dog is destroying your house and yard, the training team at DogBoy’s can help. Contact us to help you make a plan to solve those problems once and for all!
Thank you to guest blogger Amber Kingsley for this helpful and informative post!