- Is My Dog Bored?
Is My Dog Bored?
It may surprise you to learn that dogs can get bored like people do. Or maybe you're well aware of it, as well as the fact that bored dogs often engage in inappropriate behaviors like chewing and digging.
Being bored every once in a while isn't a big deal, but if your dog is chronically bored, you should work on fixing it to improve her quality of life. But, before you can do that, you need to learn how to identify the signs of boredom in your dog.
Signs of Boredom in Dogs
Here are some of the signs of boredom in dogs. Remember, all of these signs can be attributable to other conditions as well, so it's essential to look at the big picture of your dog's behavior to determine the cause. Ask your vet for help if necessary.
- Bored dogs may destroy things. Dogs that are bored often try to make their own fun, and that usually comes out as something you don't appreciate. Chewing or digging at the carpet, tearing up household items, inappropriate urination or defecation, and digging up the yard can all be signs of boredom in dogs.
- Bored dogs may bark and whine more. If your dog is chronically bored, you may notice her making more noise than usual. Pacing, crying, and barking are all ways your dog may be trying to get you to do something to entertain her.
- A bored dog may be glued to you. If your dog is bored, she may sort of glue herself to your side. If you're finding that you can't move from here to there in your house without tripping over your pup, boredom could be the culprit.
- Boredom may cause your dog to be in your face. If every time you sit down, your dog jumps on your lap and shoves her face in yours, she may be bored. This is an attention-seeking behavior that can occur when your dog isn't getting enough stimulation.
- Over-the-top greetings could mean your dog is bored. If your dog goes absolutely crazy when you get home, it could mean that she's dealing with boredom throughout the day.
- Tail-chasing may have to do with boredom. A dog that seems to be obsessed with tail-chasing could have an OCD problem or a medical one, but the behavior may also indicate an attempt to alleviate boredom.
Signs of boredom and those of anxiety or a medical problem can overlap. Check with your vet if you aren't sure which one your dog is experiencing.
- Constant escape attempts can indicate boredom. If your dog is always trying to dig out of the back yard or pawing at the door frames trying to escape, boredom could be the culprit.
How to Alleviate Boredom in Dogs
The best ways to keep your dog from getting bored are those that occupy her mind and tire her out physically. Here are some things you can do to enrich your dog's life and decrease boredom:
- Give her puzzle toys during the day.
- Use a dog DVD while you're gone.
- Increase interactive playtime using a variety of games like fetch, hide and seek, and tug-of-war.
- Go for at least one walk a day, during which your dog is allowed to stop and sniff all she wants.
- Rotate your dog's toys, bringing out a few at a time.
- Engage in training activities that stimulate your dog's mind and improve the bond between you.
- Try an agility class.
- Make a DIY obstacle course and teach your dog to go through it.
- Break your dog's daily food allotment into four or five small bowls and hide them around the house for your dog to "hunt."
Remember, the best way to combat boredom in dogs is to provide ample opportunities for play, exercise, interaction, and fun.