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PawPost Issue 13

How To Recognise Doggy Boredom And What To Do Next

Article adapted from

Most of us have jobs that keep us away from the house for at least eight hours a day. Do you wonder if your dog gets bored or lonely while you’re gone? For some dogs, the answer is definitely yes.

Lack of mental stimulation and exercise during the day leaves our dogs looking for something to do, and often it’s not something we approve of.

So how can we prevent dog boredom? We’ve got the expert tips on how to keep our dogs entertained—and the house in one piece.

Why Dogs Get Bored

Dogs are intelligent animals, and some breeds more than others. Border collies, German shepherds, golden retrievers, and poodles are among the most intelligent breeds, and these guys and gals need stimulation. In fact, most of these dogs were bred to complete a job but nowadays, dogs are more companions than workhorses—and that’s messing with their mojo.

Stimulation not only prevents boredom, but also cultivates your dog’s personality and wards off stress. Psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren has authored many books on dog psychology and says the most important stimuli include:

  • Exposure to interesting places and things

  • New, exciting experiences

  • Frequent opportunities to learn things and solve problems

  • Investigating and interacting with objects and the environment around them

If your dog is sitting around the house all day without any of the above, he’s likely to get bored.

Is My Dog Bored?

If you’re seeing a big mess every time you come home, chances are your dog is bored. Signs you’ve got a bored puppy include:

  • Antsy or restless behavior

  • Destructive behavior, like chewing shoes or carpets

  • Pawing for attention

  • Jumping

  • Barking

  • Digging in the trash

  • Digging up the backyard

If you’ve seen one of more of these signs, it’s time to get some help.

Dog Boredom: How to Help

1. Hire a dog walker. Say it with us: a tired dog is a good dog! With enough physical activity, your dog will be pooped and will likely spend the rest of his day resting.

2. Send him to doggy day care. The socialization and mental stimulation will keep your dog engaged and busy.

3. Make mealtime fun. Turning mealtime into a game will help keep your dog entertained. Try interactive feeders like the Outward Hound Fun Feeder, stuff some peanut butter or wet food into a classic Kong, or let your dog knock around an Omega treat dispensing ball using kibble.

If you’ve got a real food hound, spread his kibble all the over the house and have him find it.

4. New toys, Mom! The same old toys get boring after a while. Dr. Coren says dogs exhibit “neophilia,” or a preference for new toys—he says if dogs had their way, they’d get new toys every day! And they prefer the soft, squeaky kind.

You can mix up your dog’s toy stash to keep him interested—don’t leave toys scattered about, but hide and rotate them over time so when they come back into rotation, it’s as if they are brand new. You can also hide toys around the house or yard.

5. Let him watch some TV. DOGTV that is! It’s also available on Apple TV. You can also leave Animal Planet or NatGeo Wild on to keep your dog engaged while you’re away.

6. Give him a playmate. Although it’s a lot of work in the beginning, being a multi-dog household gives your dogs built-in socialization and stimulation. Make sure your dogs get along, though—don’t pair an alpha dog with an alpha dog and expect peace and harmony. Get help from a certified dog behaviorist or trainer before bringing home a second furry family member.

The Bottom Line

Yes, dogs get bored. Sit around the house all day with absolutely nothing to do and you’d get bored, too! Try some cool new toys or puzzles to keep your dog engaged and, of course, exercise always helps. Mixing up your dog’s routine will keep him stimulated and happy—and the house intact!

Video of the Month - Fresh Powder

While most of us just want to snuggle inside in front of the heater all winter this 10 month old puppy cant get enough of frolicking in the fresh snow.

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