Are you concerned that your dog is bored? Dogs are energetic animals with a strong desire to be active and socialize. When they don’t have enough stimulation, they get bored, and bored dogs aren’t happy dogs. As a pet parent, it’s important that you recognize when your dog is bored and find ways to entertain and reenergize him.
How to Know if Your Dog is Bored
Animals need to be stimulated, and zoos have special enrichment programs to keep their animals entertained. Dogs need enrichment in their homes, too. If your dog is bored, you may notice certain signs:
- Increased Barking- If your dog starts barking more than usual, it may be a sign of boredom. He may be trying to get attention, even if he’s not barking directly at you. It’s a bit like a toddler acting out.
- Increased Chewing- Some dogs become destructive when they’re bored. If your dog is suddenly chewing up shoes or furniture, it’s time to find another way to keep him busy.
- Running in Circles- Is your dog suddenly running circles around the room or chasing his tail? If so, he may have a lot of extra energy to burn off.
- Whining- Dogs whine when they want attention, much like babies. And, just like babies, their whining can get more annoying and intense the more bored they are. Although the whining is annoying, it’s important to figure out why he’s whining. If you’ve ruled out illness or injury, he probably just wants attention.
- Following You- You know you’re popular, but you didn’t think you were so popular that your dog needs to follow you around all day long. The thing is, you are your dog’s pack leader, and he wants to be close to you. He’ll probably keep following you until you find him something better to do.
Six Ways to Energize Your Bored Dog
- Teach your dog something new. Dogs like to have a job, so give him one. Teach him how to sit, stay, lay down, or shake hands. Or, better yet, take him out in the back yard and teach him how to play fetch. Pretty soon, your bored dog will become a sleepy dog.
- Play tug of war if your dog loves to chew on things. It will give him something to do with his mouth and wear him out at the same time.
- Frisbee is a great way to wear out a dog that’s full of too much energy.
- Playing hide and seek with your dog will entertain him and it’s a great way to get your dis in on the fun.
- If your dog won’t stop following you around, try a game of Simon says. Start at one end of your yard with your dog in the stay position. Then, go to the other side of the yard and call out another command to your dog. Reward your dog with a treat and extra praise when he follows a command.
- Food puzzles and other food-related games are a great way to entertain your dog when you can’t give him one on one attention.
Provide toys for your dog to play with when you can’t be there. The easiest way to avoid having a bored dog is to keep him busy. Regular walks will go a long way toward keeping him happy and content.