Many dogs left to their own devices, but without much mental and/or physical stimulation can become bored. Especially high-energy breeds of canine. Active dogs bred for hard work alongside humans are intelligent creatures and boredom can cause these animals to suffer the same stress and lack of stimulation found in humans when they become bored.
Bored pups can be a nuisance for you to deal with, stealing laundry, jumping onto high surfaces, and chewing up piles of pillows. One of the most common behaviours being excessive barking, other evidence of boredom can include activities such as digging, chewing and scratching, and general disobedience.
Boredom can take a toll on your pets’ sociability. Dogs are social pack animals but a lack of proper training and exercise can lead to anti-social behaviour. Make sure your pup has an active social life if possible, between yourself, other humans and other dogs. You could try organising puppy play dates, taking your pet to a dog park or dog-friendly beach, or get involved in group meetups for dog owners.
Often these meetups revolve around particular breeds, if you have an active breed of dog such as a Border-collie or Greyhound, try looking for a meetup that caters specifically to that breed as the activities will be more suited to your pets recommended lifestyle.
There are many suitable activities you and your pet can engage in in order to stimulate your pups mind, and enrich your bonding time. The first, and simplest, being to walk or run with your dog. Try changing your walking route up on occasion.
Basic games like fetch, or teaching your dog simple training tips will also help alleviate boredom.
Dogs are often left at home for long periods of time, if this is the case with your dog and your schedule doesn’t allow you to spend as much time with your pet as you would like there are of course ways you can redirect your pets bored behaviour to more sustainable sources. You could try building your dog a digging box – a digging box is a small sandpit you can hide toys, bones and other treats in in order to redirect its destructive digging behaviour to a more suitable area than the rest of your yard!
There are many interactive dog games, and toys you can try, to add more life into playtime with your pup.
Games such as tug of war, nose games and hide and seek - in which you hide treats around the house and help your dog find them – are all great ways to keep your pet busy and active.
Nose games are a great way to stimulate your dog’s mind, and train them to be more obedient at the same time. To engage in nose work with your dog you can either work with a trainer or obedience school in order to teach your dog recall and the ‘stay’ command.
Bored pets might appreciate interactive toys. You, the owner, can either make your own interactive toys or purchase what you believe is most suitable. You can enrich play time with your dog by doing something as simple as kicking a ball around, playing fetch, littering dry food around the play area, or something as complicated as freezing wet food in ice blocks for your pup to lick, or making other toys for your pet. Some dogs also enjoy listening to music or watching television, so toys that use sound can be a great option to purchase. Rotate the places toys are kept and left and change toys up every now and then, introducing new activities.