Bored Dog (How to Engage him and Keep him Stimulated)
We all have a tendency to become bored with getting stuck in the same routine day in and day out. Your dog can develop similar feelings; if you’re not careful, he could let you know about his boredom in less than savory ways. So how do you keep him stimulated?
Why a Bored Dog Could be Bad News
If a dog doesn't have something to do to stimulate his mind, he'll eventually find a way to engage himself on his accord. On the surface, this doesn't seem too terrible. This sense of engagement could translate into a chewed up couch, a freshly dug hole in the middle of your lawn, and other behaviors you may frown upon.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Bored?
Obviously, your dog does not have the capacity to walk up to you and tell you he's bored. That doesn't mean that he won't leave you clues to his mental state of dullness. Thankfully, some of these indicators don’t involve the total destruction of your living room.
For instance, a bored dog will have a tendency to paw at you constantly the moment you walk through the door. At the same time, boredom could manifest itself in the form of a dog becoming so listless with things, he won’t so much as stir if you call his name or toss him one of his favorite toys. In some cases, they will use their voices to get your attention, either by barking or by whining.
Admittedly, some of these indicators could initially be looked upon as somewhat annoying habits that your dog may have developed. However, it’s key that you recognize them for the cries of stimulation that they are. Remember, dogs will eventually find various ways to keep themselves entertained, and those ways could end up being quite creative - much to your chagrin.
Ways to Stimulate Your Dog’s Mind
One of the best ways that you can cure your pooch of boredom is give him some exercise. This could be something as simple as playing fetch with him for a little bit when you get home from work or taking him for a nice, relaxing walk as both of you are starting your day. Making sure that he is engaging in good ol’ fashioned physical activity will lead to a dog that’s too tired to get into trouble.
There’s also something to be said about giving your dog a good puzzle toy to stimulate his mind. There are all kinds of fun gizmos out there that are specifically designed to challenge your dog’s intellect, including quite a few that involve rewarding them with food or doggie treats upon completion. And who doesn’t like to be rewarded with a payout after completing a task?
You may also want to consider a doggie day care facility to help stave off canine boredom. Obviously, this tactic will only work if your dog tends to be social and friendly. If he is, this could be a boon for him as he indulges in attention given to him by day care workers and other pooches.
Make Sure it’s not Separation Anxiety
If, after deploying these tactics, you still find yourself coming home to a thrashed living room or some other form of canine-fueled destruction, boredom may not be the issue at hand. Rather, your dog's rambunctious behavior could be a sign of separation anxiety. If this is the case, you should get in touch with your vet or a behavioral therapy expert to work on ways to help make your buddy a little less nervous about things.
A Stimulated Dog Makes an Excellent Pet
An engaged dog will more than likely demonstrate his lack of boredom by not exhibiting the behaviors that may otherwise drive you crazy. These behaviors range from the “big ticket” items like destroyed furniture or ripped up lawns, to the small stuff like perpetually pawing at your leg when you are just trying to unwind after a busy day at work. The absence of these behaviors will obviously be greatly appreciated by you, and the fact that your pooch won’t have to resort to these types of behavioral tropes should be taken as a sign that he appreciates the stimulation.