Bored dogs often develop destructive behaviours such as chewing the furniture, and of course, they aren’t nearly as happy as they could be. You see, dogs have quite a strong work ethic, and they enjoy putting in the effort to get rewards such as toys and treats. They also enjoy human company. So, when we think we’re being good to our dogs by giving them stuff without any effort, we could actually be contributing to their boredom.
The good news is that there are lots of things we can do to keep our dogs busy and keep their boredom at bay. Here are some of the simplest things you can do to alleviate doggie boredom:
Let them Use Their Noses.
A great way to keep your dog busy is by letting him use his nose more. Dogs have a very keen sense of smell, and they love to use it whenever they can. So, instead of simply giving your dog a few choice treats for free, hide them in various locations around the home or garden and have them sniff them out, or play the ‘Which hand?’ game where you hide a treat inside one of your closed fists and have the dog try to pick the right hand by giving it a nudge with his nose or paw. It’ll provide just the kind of stimulation your dog needs to keep boredom at bay.
Switch Up Your Walks
Dogs, as you will know, need to go on regular walks to keep them fit, but walking your dog is also a great way to give them more stimulation, especially if you switch things up and try out new routes all the time. If you’re busy at work during the day and you have to leave your dog home alone for a considerable length of time, it’s never a bad idea to hire a dog walker to come in and help keep your pet’s boredom at bay. Click here to find a good dog walker in your area and ensure you vet anyone who will be looking after your pet. Your dog will thank you for the increase in walks and the new routes which really help to beat his boredom.
Try a Tug of War
Tug of war is a fantastic way to keep your dog engaged mentally and give him a little more exercise to boot. Buy the strongest pet play rope you can find and spend a few minutes pulling your dog around and battling him for control of the rope. Despite what many people believe, playing tug does not make dogs more aggressive, but it does make them happier, more content animals all round.
Introduce Food-Based Toys
Food-based dog toys are perfect for those times when you have to leave the dog alone for a while. Products from Kong’s, which you can find by clicking here, can be filled with peanut butter and toys where the dog must complete a puzzle to access them, it will keep your dog’s brain working as he tries to get to those tasty titbits that he loves so much.
Try Out Obedience Training
If you’ve just got a dog, obedience training is important to ensure you can control your pet and ensure his and your safety, but even if you have an older dog, it’s never too late to take up training, and if you want to prevent boredom in your pooch, it’s probably a good idea. Dogs love having the stuff to do and learning new tricks and commands is the perfect way to keep them on their toes.
Dogs Can Have Jobs
Most dogs can be trained to take on basic jobs around the house. For example, some assistance dogs are trained to pick up objects, load the washing machine and even press buttons on alarms. You might not need your dog to help you out, but teaching them to bring your morning paper or clean up his own dog toys is a good way to make him feel useful and stop the boredom sinking in.
If your dog is of a type that has been bred to do more complex and specific jobs, like a retriever that has been bred to fetch things or a collie who is great at agility, giving them a breed based task to sink their teeth into is even better.
Organize a Poochie Play Date
Most dogs love company, so if you only have one pet, why not arrange a play date with a friend or neighbour’s dog, so that they can have fun palling around together? Doing this is also a great way to ensure that your dog is left alone less, if you can arrange play dates around both parties’ work commitments.
Let Your Dog Dig
No, I’m not suggesting that you should let your dog dig holes in your beautiful garden or burrow its way to freedom under the fence, but if you know your dog likes to dig, why not build him his very own digging box, where he can indulge in his favourite forbidden activity to his heart’s content.
Set Shaping Games
Shaping games are games that require your dog to go through several steps to achieve their aim, and they have to make their own decisions along the way. This is probably one of the best ways to keep your dog’s brain engaged as they really have to work to get the desired outcome.
If you set up a paddling pool in the garden, you can almost guarantee that your dog will spend the rest of the day enjoying the water, and his toys, to the fullest, so you’ll never have to worry about him getting bored.
If you want to keep your dog happy and prevent the destructive behaviours that boredom brings, you need to keep him on his toes with new challenges, experiences, and plenty of company. So, don’t just implement one of the above and expect that to work- switch it up and try them all at different times. Your pet will thank you for it.