Dogs Get Bored
The most common signs of boredom is a listless dog that sleeps a lot, or a dog who is exhibiting destructive behavior. Chewing and destructive habits can be a sign of a bored dog and even outside dogs can be prone to boredom, even if they have a big yard. While a yard provides much needed mental stimulation (a variety of sights, smells and sounds); even dogs in large yards can become bored if not engaged with. It is important to redirect negative behaviors rather than punishing dogs.
Go for a Walk
One of the best ways to engage a bored dog involves their favorite four letter word, W-A-L-K. Dogs, like all of us, need exercise to stimulate their minds and get the blood flowing. A good walk also offers a change of pace, new sights and new encounters.
Some dogs aren’t good on leash, or if a walk isn’t possible, then a quick game of backyard fetch can be just as stimulating.
No matter if a puppy or a senior pup, a trip to the dog park or doggy day care at least a few days per week are great solutions for boredom. Dogs get their much-needed social time which makes them less likely to act out or be destructive when at home. These environments can improve their social skills and adaptability as well.
Positive reinforcement training is a great way to physically and mentally stimulate a dog. Some basic training each day for about 10 minutes can help to stimulate dogs and curb bad habits, like children, dogs need regular guidance. Every interaction is an opportunity to train your dog. Some helpful and easy commands to consider are name recognition, sit, drop, come, shake and leave it.
Enrichment toys and activities involve a dog having to manipulate or move an object free from the assistance of a person. Since many dogs are food-motivated, Kongs and other such toys are enjoyed by dogs both large and small and provide a challenge and good chewing experience. Swapping out toys on a regular basis is good to keep dogs interested.
Dogs are natural scavengers so rather than serving food in a bowl keep a dog entertained with a foraging activity that will teach them to work for their food.
Whether food is hidden in toys, frozen in an ice block or hidden around the yard/house this will stimulate your dog to search for their food and give them a tasty snack or a meal. There are toys that will release food or treats on a timer or make your own toys with plastic bottles or boxes. Take some old rags or towels, tie together into large knots and place dry treats inside the knots. Food is an easy way to entertain dogs without having to be actively engaged with them.