Why is it that your dog is acting strange? They seem to be tearing apart cushions more often. They’re even having bathroom accidents in the home. That’s not even mentioning their clear lethargy.
While you might be worried it’s related to a physical ailment, it very well could be mental. If you've ever wondered, “Do dogs get bored?” while looking at your dog, the answer is yes.
But what are the warning signs of boredom in dogs? And how do you handle dog boredom? From regular exercise to trips to the dog park to chewing on bully sticks, here are some easy ways you can ward off boredom in your dog.
Destructive behaviors in dogs can be something that can be handled with training, but it could be as easy a solution as giving them something to do. The reason they’re chewing is they’re either anxious from being immobile or because they’re trying to make their own fun. While it’s fun for them, it’s not a great time for your couch, pillows, and shoes.
Another worrying dog behavior is accidental messes. It may be troublesome to see, as your initial thoughts might be to rush them to the vet, but it could be another behavior brought on by boredom or anxiety.
In-home messes can even happen while you’re in the house, especially if you’re not giving your dog enough attention. If you’ve found they’re nudging you throughout the day, they’re asking to have your attention. Whether you’re working from home or talking with a friend on the phone, if you ignore them for a long period of time, they may go off on their own.
If it happens enough, that boredom grows. It’s not necessarily the intention, but using the bathroom in the house could be a sign of them trying to get your attention. It’s similar to destructive behavior, particularly patterns that attempt to make a very visible mess (say tearing apart a roll of toilet paper or rummaging through the trash).
Another sign is a lack of energy. Think of what you do when you’re bored: lay on the couch, not go outside, watch Netflix, eat too much. It’s no different for your dog. If they’re bored, they’re less likely to want to get up and go for a walk. They need regular engagement to feel engaged.
Get up and out of the house. Go for a long walk, take a hike together, throw around a frisbee, or play catch with their favorite tennis ball at your local dog park.
Dogs love having tasks to take on. It’s a challenge they welcome, something they want to learn. Training can provide them with that mental stimulation that will keep them feeling engaged.
As mentioned earlier, dogs like to chew. It’s instinctive and calming for them. Dog chews are a great way to let them get out their energy, as they not only get to enjoy the taste of their chew, but they can have all the fun of slowly chewing it down with their teeth.
Socialization isn’t just for puppies. Your dog will benefit from spending time with other dogs. Whether it's a trip to your local dog park or asking a local dog walker to take your dog out with other dogs during the day, you can do little things to make them feel a little more engaged.
As a dog owner, the best thing you can do is give them the attention they want and need. They should equally have a balanced life that meets their personality, filled with events like playing with other dogs, going on long walks together, enjoying dog chews on their own time, and getting to play tug of war every so often.
In order to be an active pet owner, look for signs of dog boredom and act accordingly. It could be something as minor as coming home with bully sticks to chew on. It may seem small to you, but you may very well have made their day.
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