It would be very challenging to prove that all creatures get bored. However, it does seem that higher orders of animals can indeed experience boredom. At least one scientific study determined that animals living in captivity, especially if kept in confined spaces, suffer from boredom. The question then arises, what about dog boredom?
Boredom in Dogs
Originally, different types of dogs were bred to do different jobs. However, most dogs today are not working dogs. It’s a dog’s life! – your dog gets everything he wants easily and with no work involved. However, he has to cope with being alone for much of the day while you go off to work. It’s no wonder that your friend might suffer from dog boredom.
Signs of Dog Boredom
Your bored dog will make his own fun, and most likely in ways that you won’t appreciate. He may chew up your furniture or your shoes, shred pillows, or unroll your toilet paper. If he gets to go outside through a doggy door, he might enjoy digging up your tomato plants or tipping over your trash cans. Big messes that greet you when you get home are a clear indication that your dog has nothing to do. Signs of boredom can also be seen even when you’re at home. Your dog might always be bugging you for attention and behaving restlessly. Odds are he’s bored and wants you to do something with him. Here are some ways to combat dog boredom and make your dog’s life more interesting.
- Physical Exercise – A tired dog is more likely to stay out of trouble by taking a long nap while you’re not there, so your dog must get enough physical exercise. And keep in mind that different breeds need different amounts of activity. A pekinese might be happy with a short stroll, but a border collie will need longer and more energetic walks.
- Mental Exercise – Your dog’s brain needs a workout just as much as his body. Try out some interactive games to challenge your dog’s mind (and your own!). Also, rotate your dog’s toys frequently to keep him interested.
- Training – Training teaches your dog proper behaviors and provides him with mental stimulation. Obedience training is a good start, but once you have a well-behaved dog, move on to trick training. There’s no end to behaviors you can teach your dog that are just for fun.
- Give Your Dog a Job – One of the best ways to prevent boredom is to fulfill your dog’s need to have a job. You don’t have to literally put him to work, as a therapy dog for example, but give him ways to meet his psychological needs. For example, a digging box in the backyard would be ideal for a terrier. Use a kiddie pool or fill a sandbox with dirt, then bury toys or treats for your dog to find. Your dog will spend hours happily digging around for goodies and won’t be bored.
Get Some Outside Help
A dog walker can take your dog out in the middle of the day for exercise, play, and fresh air. To provide your dog with all-day company, consider doggy daycare. Your canine pal can enjoy supervised play with other dogs for hours and come home exhausted, content, and no longer bored.
- CVETS encourages you to prevent dog boredom. A happy dog is likely to be a healthier dog and not suffer an injury by doing something bad because he’s bored. However, if you live near us and need emergency veterinary help, we are here for you.