Help! My Dog is Bored - How To Recognize it?
You may not be aware that our pets, and I am mainly talking about our cat and dog, can get terribly bored at home. Scientific research has shown that our pet dog sleeps an average of 17 hours a day.
Dogs can suffer from boredom just like humans. Dogs are meant to be doing things, and if they aren’t given healthy opportunities to use their energy, they’ll find unhealthy ways. Worse yet, the “fun ideas” dogs come up with can be both annoying and expensive. Bottom line:
- Be alert to signs of boredom in dogs, and
- Help your dog find productive ways to spend their time.
This blog will educate you about the dog behavior Boredom by dogs
Why is My Dog Bored?
Whether your dog is bored does not directly have anything to do with whether you are a good boss. Every dog has his own preferences regarding the amount and types of activities he does each day. However, it is important that you know what your dog needs to be happy and active. In nature, the dog spent the whole day looking for food. With us, they get it ready to eat: it gives energy, but it hardly costs any!
Often we see the same preferences within a certain breed or type of dog. Where the Yorkshire Terrier prefers to lie on the lap of the boss all day, the Syberian Husky becomes hyper at the idea. While the Jack Russell Terrier is still chasing his ball with the same enthusiasm after one and a half hours, the Border Collie has 'got it' after two times. This does not mean that the Husky does not want to lie on his boss' lap, or that the Collie does not want to see the same ball twice.... The point is, these breeds have different preferences and therefore need to be kept physically, but also mentally healthy with a different focus.
CAUSES OF BOREDOM IN DOGS
The ancestors of our dogs were not bored for a moment in the wild. In the wild, their energy went into survival and the role they played in the pack. Our four-legged friends, on the other hand, often have less contact with peers and do not have to do anything for their food and safety. In short, boredom in dogs occurs because they live in a low-stimulus environment in which they are not challenged enough physically and mentally.
8x SIGNS & SOLUTIONS BY BOREDOM IN DOGS
*IMPORTANT NOTE: Most signs of boredom are normal dog behaviors that have gotten out of control. Sometimes, though, these same behaviors can indicate severe distress, including separation anxiety. If your dog’s bored behaviors aren’t improving, or you’re concerned they may hurt themselves, consult a certified dog behavior consultant, your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.
Dogs let you know what they think of people, places and situations with their eyes, ears, tail and other body parts. Recognising and understanding your dog's body language is therefore an important part of communicating with him.
This is especially important if your dog's behaviour or body language suddenly shows that he is no longer happy but is feeling stressful, anxious or lonely. Sometimes a dog's body language or behaviour can indicate that he is not happy with his current situation.
#1 Excessive Chewing
Chewing is a natural behavior, but excessive chewing can be a sign of boredom in dogs. Some dogs chew on their own bodies—paws, flank, etc.—or chase their tails (whether or not they catch them). Others chew on furniture or shoes. This kind of chewing can affect your dog’s health and get expensive, too. Read more about destructive chewing in dogs.
Solution: Keep inappropriate chew items out of reach, and provide better chew options. Feed your pet meals out of a KONG Classic Dog Toy , so meal time is also chew time. Offer chew toys like the Nylabone DuraChew Double Bone . If your dog destuffs things like pillows, try a stuffed toy such as the Multipet’s Lamb Chop Plush Dog Toy —but only if your dog doesn’t swallow the stuffing.
#2 Digging in the Yard
Digging is another normal behavior that can get out of hand. Dogs may dig up flowers, for example. This gets into a deeper issue: People assume the yard is fun, but for most dogs, the yard is boring (been there, sniffed that), which leaves them desperate for something to do.
Solution: First, stop leaving your dog in the yard unsupervised. Next, create a digging pit. When you are supervising and see your dog digging in the wrong place, direct him to the digging pit. To make the digging pit more interesting, bury bones, toys and other interesting items there.
#3 Digging or Scratching at Furniture
Some bored dogs don’t have to be in the yard to dig; they dig at carpets, furniture and other household items. These dogs obviously like digging, so it’s a good idea to find them a constructive outlet for that urge.
Solution: See the section above about digging in general. Also, consider getting your dog a bed that suits his digging habits, such as the Frisco Tufted Lounger Square Dog Bed , and encourage him to dig there. (Hint: Drop treats on or under the bed to make it more interesting.)
#4 Attention Seeking
It’s true that a tired dog is more likely to nap than get into trouble while you’re out. So, make sure you’re giving your dog enough physical exercise. Talk to your breeder or veterinarian about how much exercise your dog needs. A Chihuahua might be good with a walk and a romp around the yard whereas the energetic Border Collie will need far more to satisfy his needs.
A ten-minute stroll around the block is unlikely to tire any dog, so make sure you’re adding in more vigorous exercise like chasing a ball or flying disc or giving him a safe place to run free. And keep your daily walks interesting. They should do more than provide a potty break. Take different routes and let your dog stop and smell the pee-mail.
#5 Hyperactivity dogs
Giving your dog’s brain a workout is as important as exercising his body. Plus, it’s equally exhausting. Before you head to work, try interactive games to challenge your dog’s mind. Activities like hide and seek, where your dog has to find you, or tug-of-war let you play together and build your bond. Scent games where you hide treats or toys around the house are also fun boredom busters.
It’s great to give your dog comfort and squeaky toys but add some puzzle toys to the toy box too. There are stuffed puzzle toys with hidden squeaky bits, lift the flap toys that hide treats, and balls and cubes your dog must roll around to get at the treats you’ve placed inside. Consider a snuffle mat as well. These have fabric flaps and loops that hide kibble or treats for your dog to sniff out. Whatever toys you give your dog, be sure to rotate them frequently so your dog stays interested. Even an old toy seems new and exciting when your dog hasn’t seen it for days.
You can also make your own puzzle toys from things around the house. Stuff peanut butter in a toilet paper roll and fold down the ends. (Just watch to be sure your dog isn’t eating the paper.) Roll treats up in a paper bag and let your dog tear it open. Put treats in a water bottle with the cap off so he must toss it around to get the food. Or hide a treat in one of the cups of a muffin tin then place tennis balls on top of each cup so your dog must remove the balls to find the food.
Read more: Dog Body Language, Communicate & Education
#5 Barking, Whining, Jumping or Nipping at You
A plan must be created that is customized to suit your dog, your personal living conditions, your household and the type of problem. You must also attempt to resolve the underlying cause of the dog barking before behavioral modifications are begun. Do not reinforce the excessive dog barking. This includes punishing the behavior, which is still regarded as attention. Instead, positively reward your dog when they are calm and quiet and lead by example by remaining calm as well. Also, counterconditioning can be used to help your dog to calm down when stimulated. Your veterinarian will be able to help you with developing a plan, but a behavioral trainer may be required to retrain both you and your dog. Becoming more attentive to the triggers that cause the excessive dog barking will also help you to distract your dog before he becomes excited or anxious.
#6 Wants to play all the time
Even if you walk your dog for a few hours a day, the drudgery of everyday indoor life can quickly cause boredom to set in. Fortunately, there are plenty of games that can keep your dog busy, both with and without the owner. Besides driving away boredom, playing is the way to create mutual understanding and bonding. As a puppy, your dog learns to behave and communicate in a natural way while interacting with other dogs, through play. In addition, it is a fun challenge to find out what your dog can figure out on his own and how much he can grow in this. Does your dog become hyperactive when you start a game? Or does he continuously ask for play? Then ignore him until he is quiet, and only then start the game. If the hyperactivity takes over again, start over. Calmness provides control and reduces the chance of accidents. Every dog likes something different: one can be entertained for hours with a rubber chicken, the other with a tennis ball. Try to figure out what is the favorite with you.
#7 Not nice to other dogs
Socialization isn’t just for puppies. Even adult dogs benefit from being exposed to new people and places. It’s mentally stimulating and a great way to combat doggy boredom. Be open on your walks for the chance to meet new neighbors and their canine companions. Or organize puppy play dates with other dogs. Just be sure the other dog is up to date on his vaccinations and a suitable play partner for your pup. For example, don’t match a rowdy dog who likes to roughhouse with a timid dog. Finally, check out the dog parks in your area. Your dog can run off-leash and make new friends. But always keep an eye on your dog. Just because he’s friendly, it doesn’t mean all the other visitors are.
Read more: Best Tips & Tricks - Hiking With Your Dog
#8 Stealing Things
Dogs who are bored sometimes steal food and other items. Stealing food is pretty straightforward—it’s yummy. Stealing other items, such as socks, can be an even better way to make things interesting, especially if it guarantees a fun (to the dog) game of chase with you.
Solution: Keep inappropriate items out of your dog’s reach. If your dog does grab the wrong thing, run away instead of chasing your dog. Most dogs will chase you if you run, and many will drop what they were holding in the process. Also, teach your dog to drop items on cue.
EXTRA TIPS BY BORED DOGS
A few ideas for giving your dog more of a challenge:
- Provide varied walking distances;
- Visit new walking areas;
- Schedule daily play times;
- Engage in sports with your dog, such as running or doggy dance;
- Try different disciplines, such as fetch and tracking;
- Train your dog with intelligence games;
- Enroll in a course at the dog school;
- Visit dog playgrounds or beaches;
- Provide a dog-friendly garden.
What is your tip to avoid boredom by dogs?
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