Do you think your dog is bored? You might be right! Dogs are wonderful companions. One of the reasons we love sharing our lives with dogs is because they are smart and interesting animals to spend time with. Their intellect and capacity for learning and enjoying new things means that dogs are also able to experience and suffer from boredom. Just like humans, dogs need to be stimulated both mentally and physically on a daily basis to enjoy a fulfilling life.
Signs of dog boredom
We love watching our dogs learn new skills and figure out tasks. And we love how they are able to understand our emotions and respond accordingly. So, if you notice that your dog is acting in ways that are undesirable, it’s time to investigate. Is your dog barking excessively, digging holes in the yard, or chewing things inside the house ? If so, your dog may be suffering from boredom. Ideally, if you work outside the home, you would start the day with a vigorous 30 to 45 minute walk or run with your pup to burn off excess energy. This sets them up for success by giving them the necessary stimulation they need before you leave for the day.
If you aren’t able to do that, you definitely need to make time to give your dog a proper exercise session when you return home for the day. We all know how wonderful it is to come home to a happy and energetic pup. They are so excited to see you after the monotony of being alone all day. Make sure you are giving your dog the time and attention the deserve when you return home. After taking them for a walk, consider using puzzle toys or other ways to feed them. This mental stimulation is a great way to burn off some excess energy as they have to work to get their food.
If you can’t provide your dog with vigorous exercise multiple times a week, consider hiring a dog runner. Running is an excellent antidote to dog boredom and its associated unwanted behaviors. Running is highly preferable to walking a dog because it simultaneously stimulates mental and physical effort in your dog. Unlike walking, where a dog’s mind can wander as he sniffs and ambles around, running forces the mind to focus on the task at hand. And just like in humans, exerting mental focus also requires physical energy, resulting in a full body workout and overall health benefits.
Dog running is a great cure for bored pups
Running is great for all dogs, but it is particularly good for working breeds that were bred to do a job. These dogs are also, unsurprisingly, at the highest risk for dog boredom and its related unwanted behaviors. Running replicates the tasks that working dogs were bred to perform. It requires them to focus on the act of running in tandem with their dog runner and stay alert and engaged in an activity for a prolonged period of time. The added exertion of running paired with exploring new environments is a great combination for canine excitement and healthy energy expenditure. This combination of mental and physical effort is the best way to ensure that your dog is happy and healthy.
There are lots of ways to help keep your dog engaged and happy.
- Switch out the toys available frequently to keep the toy box surprising and interesting for your pup
- Buy toys specially designed to challenge dogs to help them work the problem-solving parts of their brains
- Take agility classes to create a strong bond between you and your pup as you both get great exercise and work on teamwork tackling obstacles together
- Find other dogs of a similar temperament and schedule regular play dates