Boredom & How to Combat It
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?
Many dog breeds are highly intelligent, or have been bred to do a job such as hunting, herding, guarding and tracking. But nature hasn’t caught up with the creature comforts of the modern pooch – without tasks and challenges, your dog can take their energy out on your furniture or garden.
Stimulation not only prevents boredom, but also cultivates your dog’s personality and wards off stress.
- 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
Signs of boredom:
- Pawing for attention
- Hyperactivity when you offer an activity or attention, for example a walk
- Destructive behaviour – such as chewing, digging or scratching
- Digging in the trash
- Digging up the backyard
What to do?
- Plenty of Exercise
- If you can’t walk your dog before work every day, try a dog-walker who can help you with scheduled walks and drop-in visits.
- Try to explore new routes and dog parks so your dog has new scents and sights to enjoy.
- Aim to do two big runs or walks each day.
- Try active sessions with a ball or frisbee that can help use up your dogs energy to ensure your dog enjoys a lazy day while you’re away from home.
- Try to get your dog out of the house more often when other dogs are out and about.
- Search your local area for dog-friendly parks and scout the area to see if other dogs use it. Make a note of the common times people and their dogs are there and try to get yourself there several times a week.
- If your dog’s call-back is not quite there yet, ensure that you have a long lead or a dog-friendly park that is fully fenced.
- Consider arranging a pet sitter or dog walker to come by and visit during the day, or organize a doggy date.
- Work on a new trick
- Each time you engage your dog in a training session, you are presenting him with a mental challenge.
- Search for new tricks to work on if you have mastered the basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and drop.
- Interactive toys
- There are games designed for dogs that allows them to engage and figure out how to work them out.
- Try a doggie board game, puzzle or even make your own interactive toys.
- Put toys on a rotation schedule
- Dogs can get bored of the same toys scattered around the house. You shouldn’t expect your dog to continue to love the same toy that he’s had for months.
- Try to rotate them on a schedule. Play a batch for a week then rotate them out with a new one.
- Run errands together
- We try to spend as much time as we can with our dogs but we can’t always stay home the whole weekend to keep them company.
- Even a run to the mailbox, stopping over at a friend’s place, or a walk to the market will expose your dog to an array of stimulants.
- They get to see new sights, hear new sounds and experience new situations.