How to Spot Dog Boredom and What to Do About It
Has your dog’s behavior changed? Are they picking up some unwanted behaviors, like barking? It could be that your dog is bored. Here’s how to spot dog boredom and what to do about it.
Signs of Dog Boredom
They Bark All the Time
It’s okay for your dog to bark. If someone new shows up and they bark, it’s pretty justified. If your dog is barking at everyone and everything, it’s a problem. Your dog can make a great alarm when unexpected guests come. A dog that barks all the time is just annoying. If your dog is barking too much, they may be bored.
They are Often into Trouble
Some people call this mischievous or curious, but a dog that “gets into trouble” often is probably just bored. They have nothing else to occupy their time or mind, so they start digging up the yard or chewing on shoes. A destructive dog is likely just bored and looking to make their own fun.
The saying goes, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” A bored dog is going to want to check out that grass. If your dog is an escape artist, they are probably bored. While there can be many reasons, boredom is the most common.
They’re Too Excited When You Come Home
A dog that pounces on you as you enter the door is pretty inconvenient. Depending on the size of your dog, even guests will get uncomfortable if your dog is bounding around the house as they enter. It may just be that they are so excited to see people because (you guessed it), they are bored.
How to Add Excitement to Your Dog’s Life
Get Some Exercise
Move, move, move. This is the easiest and cheapest way to give your dog something to do. Put ‘em on a leash and take them for a walk or play a game of tug-of-war with an old shirt or towel. Here are some other doggy exercise ideas:
- Running up and down the stairs
- Basic obedience training
- Agility training
- Frisbee catch
Most dogs crave the attention of other dogs and people. So, take your pup and head over to a dog park. Dog parks are made for socialization. Open spaces, maybe a bush or two to sniff, and lots of dogs to play with are what you’ll find at a dog park. Don’t have a dog park nearby? That’s just fine! Walk your dog into town or a local farmers’ market. You’re bound to pass some other dogs and people. If your dog isn’t stressed by pets from strangers, your dog can practice meeting new people.
Make a Game of Mealtime
Mealtime is something your dog likely looks forward to. If that’s that case, make a game of it! Have your dog practice some obedience tricks or have some fun playtime before giving them a bowl of kibble. They will see it as a reward and look forward to mealtime.
Introduce New Toys
Don’t give your dog a bunch of toys all at once. Instead, only keep a few out and rotate them regularly to avoid boredom. Dogs are smart and, like people, can become tired of doing the same things over and over. By stashing toys and bringing them out only every so often, you’ll make sure your dog is never bored of their possessions.
Find a Friend
Dogs need friends too. Do you have a neighbor with a dog who comes around often? Why not plan a doggie playdate? This way, both of your dogs will get exercise and socialization all in one go. Both dogs are sure to be tired and relaxed after a day of play with each other.
A Bored Dog is an Unhappy Dog
Your dog doesn’t have a lot of control over its own life. If they are bored, you’ll need to take responsibility for their stimulation and give them something to do. Ignoring your dog will assuredly lead to unwanted behaviors, so it’s best to create a routine with your pet that includes lots of mental and physical stimulation.