Is your dog bored?
The pace of modern life means it’s not always possible to spend as much time as you’d like with your dog. Be warned, though, that a bored dog can mean trouble with a capital T.
Although dogs are creatures of habit, they still crave both physical and mental exercise. So if you don’t provide it for them, you’re not only missing out on an opportunity to bond with your dog, but he may get bored and start to entertain himself, perhaps by doing things you don’t like.
Bored dogs may:
- Run away;
- Bark or otherwise try to get your attention;
- Harass the cat, annoy you, chase the ball under the couch repeatedly, lick/chew themselves, and so on.
What to do about it
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from boredom, you may want to:
- Make a list of simple tricks to teach your dog, and try to teach a new trick every few weeks.
- Keep a well-stocked box of dog toys (out of view) to provide diversion when it is needed. Rotate toys every few days, keeping three to four out at all times.
- Introduce food-dispensing toys to your dogs.
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Simply hanging around in the backyard won’t be enough. Do things with your dog, like taking long walks or playing fetch.
- Interact with your dog and offer praise and a treat for good behaviour. See how many good behaviours you can reward in a day.
- Take your dog along when visiting friends or running errands.
Your dog’s lifestyle influences his behaviour. Regular walks or play periods with your dog and giving him the attention and praise from you that he craves will make your dog’s life fun and stimulating. A happy dog is less likely to develop annoying behaviour problems.