As a dog trainer, Come.Sit.Stay gets a lot of requests for help with destructive, naughty, or loud dogs. More often than not, the owners are surprised that most of these negative behaviors are symptoms of just one big problem—boredom!
Age, breed, background, and temperament all play a role in determining how your dog responds to their environment. If a dog is confined to a small space, or not given enough variety in routine or interaction, dogs can suffer. The negative effects of boredom in animals can occur when arousal inputs are low, but arousal motivation is high. In other words, bored animals want more stimulation and will seek it out, even if that means digging through the trash or tearing up your shoes.
Fortunately, dog owners can help alleviate this problem. Activities like scent games, interactive puzzle toys, stuffed toys, a game of fetch, or a nice long walk can keep your dog occupied physically and mentally. At CSS, we recommend all of these ideas to our clients along with some beginner or brush-up obedience & stimulation training. Of course, each dog is an individual, that’s why we always suggest working with our trainers (or one near you) and we suggest when there’s any concerning behavioral changes in your dog, that you always have a consultation with your veterinarian about the specific concerns you’re having.
If you don’t see any improvement in these behaviors after trying the following tips, it’s best to consult a vet or certified professional dog trainer for help.
Say it with us: a tired dog is a good dog! Bored dogs often have a lot of pent-up energy. Give them enough physical activity, though, and the same dogs will be pooped and more likely to spend the rest of the day napping. If you can’t walk your dog before work every day, a reliable dog walker can help with scheduled walks and drop-in visits. Got a dog that just won’t quit? If a good long walk doesn’t get the sillies out, a quick session of throwing a ball or frisbee, or playing tug-o-war can help use up the last dregs of energy to ensure your dog enjoys a lazy day while you’re at the office.
The socialization and mental stimulation at a doggy daycare will keep your dog engaged and busy.
Turning mealtime into a game will help keep your dog entertained. You can try using a slow feeder dish. Or you can stuff some peanut butter or wet dog food into an after meal treat. You can also let your dog knock around a treat-dispensing ball filled with part of his dinner or small, low-calorie treats. If you’ve got a real food hound, you can even play a game of hide-the-treats. You spread kibble throughout the room and train your dog to find them.
The same old toys get boring after a while. Bored dogs will look for inappropriate toys, so giving them a variety of approved playthings will help keep them out of the trash. You can mix up your dog’s toy stash to keep them interested—don’t leave toys scattered about, but hide and rotate toys over time so when they come back into rotation, they’re brand new again. You can also hide toys around the house or yard so your dog can hunt them down while you’re away. Sturdy, squeaky stuffies, stuffing-less extra-tough toys and squishy puzzle toys are all great options.
DogTV, that is. If you’re a DirecTV subscriber, you can add this channel tailored to stimulating your dog. It’s also available on Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire. Alternatively, leave on Animal Planet or NatGeo Wild to keep your dog engaged while you’re away.
Bored dogs are often solo dogs. 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, and invest in professional dog training up front. Get help from a certified dog behaviorist or trainer before bringing home a second furry family member.
A bored dog is more likely to get into trouble. Provide opportunities for exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation, and they’ll go a long way toward alleviating doggy boredom. Most of all, your dog just really wants your attention!! Don’t underestimate the power of a 15-minute play session in the morning, or some extra snuggles before bed. A little extra attention can go a long way for our dogs.
Keep in mind, the advice and tips we went over above are only a handful of suggested things to try. There are a ton of options always available around you and you can always schedule an in-home training session with our professional trainers at Come.Sit.Stay Dog Training located in Jacksonville, Florida. To set up your FREE in-home consultation with us fill out our form on our website by CLICKING HERE or call us directly at (904)233-0608.