Dogs are social creatures that require mental and physical stimulation to prevent them from acting up or developing behavioural problems due to boredom. Here is how to recognise and prevent dog boredom to help entertain them and avoid destructive behaviour.
Dog boredom or lack of mental or physical stimulation can often lead to many common behaviour problems in dogs. When they are bored, they look for ways to entertain themselves, which will more than likely be to your dismay, usually by chewing, barking, or digging.
Make sure your dog is consistently getting enough physical exercise. If your dog is tired, they are less likely to cause trouble, and more likely to nap when you go out or leave them to their own devices.
A walk around the block, day in day out, is not going to be sufficient exercise for most dogs. Take your dog on walks that are interesting by taking different routes or going to new places.
It is important to do more than just walk your dog. Add vigorous exercises like chasing a ball or frisbee or taking them for a run-around.
If you are unsure about the amount of exercise your dog needs, talk to your vet.
As well as a physical workout, it is just as important to give them mental stimulation to exercise their mind, too. Challenge your dog by using enrichment toys and interactive games before you leave them unaccompanied to help tire them out.
You can try some boredom-busting activities such as hide and seek, playing tug of war, leaving a scent trail, or hiding treats around the house.
There are plenty of puzzle toys and treat balls and snuffle mats available that are great for putting your dog’s mind to the test and getting their brains working.
Dogs can become bored of playing the same games repeatedly. Alternate between toys and games to keep them interested.
Training is another great way of stimulating your dog’s mind. It is not just about teaching them to sit, stay, lie down, and rollover.
There are many types of training and tricks you can teach your dog. Matching the training to your dog’s interests and abilities is the real trick to ensure your dog gets the most out of it.
Some dogs may be well suited to ladder climbing, jumping through hoops, rally, or agility.
Training and positive reinforcement will help to teach your dog how to learn, encourage their participation, and show them that good behaviour leads to rewards.
Not just puppies need to be socialised with other dogs. Even older dogs enjoy and benefit from meeting new people and new dogs and going to new places. It provides them with mental stimulation and is great for combatting boredom.
You could organise play dates with other dogs, go on group dog walks, or take them to a dog park.
It is important, though, that you make sure your dog is matched with a suitable play partner. If your dog is timid, it is not a good idea for them to play with a dog that is boisterous as that could be quite overwhelming.
If you feel that you are doing everything you can to entertain your dog and stop dog boredom, you may want to enlist outside help.
You could hire a dog walker to take your dog out in the day or a pet sitter. They can check in on them, let them out and play with them whilst you are out. Alternatively, send them to a doggy daycare where they can play with other dogs under supervision.
WitsEnd are experienced in offering training, physio, hydrotherapy, and laser therapy for dogs. For expert advice and help in combatting your dog’s behavioural problems, please get in touch. Call 0116 244 2455 or email us at [email protected]