Many of the annoying habits dogs display are due to boredom. Chewing, barking, improper elimination, jumping, and even aggression can be traced to a lack of mental stimulation. This often happens when owners leave their pets home all day by themselves. If dogs have nothing with which to occupy their time, they become bored, and look for alternative ways to entertain themselves. This can lead to a host of behavioral problems.
The key is to prevent your canine from becoming bored in the first place. We’ll offer a few suggestions in this article. The following tips will not only curb your pet’s boredom, but will also make him a more pleasant companion.
Provide Plenty Of Stimulating Toys
Toys give your pet something with which to play while he’s alone. There are many different types of dog toys, and they serve different purposes. For example, chew toys are designed to withstand vigorous chewing, which dogs find stimulating. Other toys offer puzzles for dogs to solve, forcing them to use their minds. Still others combine puzzles with treats; if your pet is able to solve the puzzle, the toy will release a small treat as a reward.
These toys stimulate your dog’s mind. In doing so, they give him something on which to focus his attention, and thus help him stave off boredom.
Teach Him New Commands
When you teach your dog to respond to new commands, you’re engaging his mind. He’s forced to focus and learn something that is new to him. He needs to think ahead to respond quickly and appropriately. Many dogs consider this a welcome challenge, and will strive to respond in the way their owners desire. If you provide your pet’s favorite treats as a reward, he’ll be engaged in multiple ways.
You can also enroll him into professional obedience classes, or specific training courses. Most obedience classes will include activities that work your canine’s body and brain. Training courses can vary from therapy training, dog agility classes, and Search and Rescue (SAR) classes. These, too, stimulate your dog’s mind as well as his body.
Give Him Exercise
One of the best ways to stop your pet’s boredom is to provide him an outlet for exercise each day. A daily 20-minute walk is helpful. Two daily walks is better. The benefit of exercise is that it gives your canine an opportunity to expend the energy that builds within him. It also engages his mind since he’ll be able to enjoy the sights, sounds, and scents of his neighborhood.
Some of us do not always have the time to take our dog for a walk. Sometimes, the weather does not allow us to go out with our dog. In these situations, what can you do? Believe it or not, dog treadmills have become very popular with a lot of dog owners. Treadmills are especially popular with urban pet owners and people with very hectic schedules.
The amount of exercise your dog needs depends largely on his normal activity level. He may be content to sit around the house all day. Or, if he is naturally energetic, he may need more daily activity to keep the boredom away.
Provide Opportunities To Socialize
Owners often forget that dogs enjoy the company of their own kind. Interacting and playing with other digs is both fun and stimulating for them. For this reason, consider meeting other owners to schedule play dates for your respective pets. You can also visit dog parks where your pet can socialize and play with others while you mingle with the other owners.
If you’re away during the day, and unable to provide an outlet for socialization, dog daycare may be a good solution. It works in the same manner as daycare for young kids. You can drop your pooch off on the way to the office, and pick him up on the way home. He’ll have a chance to interact with other canines while you’re at work.
There are plenty of ways you can help your dog keep boredom at bay. The suggestions above will engage his mind, and prevent many of the most common behavioral problems from emerging.