If you've ever met a dog, you probably know that they're super intelligent, loyal, highly social, and share a lot of the qualities that we tend to dig in fellow humans, too. In fact, we might even like them more than fellow humans (if you have your own doggo at home, you know what I mean). But how in touch are you with how your dog is feeling day-to-day? Dogs need both physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis — it's super vital to their health! Without it, it's pretty much guaranteed that dogs can get bored.
And dog boredom isn't just sad for dogs. Dogs who are bored or under-stimulated may act out for attention or simply to entertain themselves. Behaviors like chewing on furniture, having accidents in the house, or acting out inappropriate are all potential signs of doggy boredom — and it's our responsibility to be sure our canine friends are feeling good.
Do what you gotta do to keep yourself and your dog happy. Here are a few ways to make sure your dogs are never bored and are getting all the stimulation they need to live their best lives.
Look Out For Basic Signs Of Boredom
As much as we wish it, our dogs can't talk to us, so we've gotta rely on their body language to show us how they're feeling. If your dog is doing things like whining or barking excessively, pacing back and forth, chasing their own tail, chewing on their limbs or furniture, or acting lethargic or listless, they might be doing so out of sheer boredom. Rule out any health issues with your vet, then do all you can make sure your furry friend is getting the stimulation they need!
Don't Skip The Walk
OK, when you think of dogs, you think of dog walking — that's for a reason! Dog walks are how your pup gets to explore the outside world. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, so be sure to let them sniff their surroundings and "get to know" the neighborhood. This gives them lots of new stimuli and plus, it's exciting — everyone likes to get out, dogs included.
Give Your Dog Walks Some Variety
No one wants to live the same ol' boring routine all the time, so don't put your dog in that box, either! When you take your dog for walks, switch things up here and there by taking different routes so they can explore new sights, sounds, and smells. Plan trips to entirely different neighborhoods or parks, too.
Treat Your Dogs To Some New Toys
We all like to update our gadgets, accessories, closets — you name it, I'm probably online shopping for it. So naturally, dogs don't want to play with the same toy day in and day out for years. Switch things up with some new play things, especially if they have some sort of "puzzle" aspect to keep dogs mentally stimulated. Check out some "treat toys," which you can fill with peanut butter or kibble to keep your dog's interest at a maximum.
Keep Their Alone Time To A Minimum
Dogs are truly social beings! They're pack animals, first of all, so togetherness is built into their DNA — but you probably didn't need me to tell you that. If you know dogs, then it's pretty obvious that they love spending time with their guardians. Leaving them alone for extended periods can result in boredom and loneliness, and can exacerbate unwanted boredom-induced or attention-seeking behaviors. Do what you can to make sure your pup's not riding solo for too long.
Don't Lock Them In A Crate For Long Periods Of Time
If you have to leave your dogs home for an extended period, don't just lock them in a crate, which can be really stressful for them and cause them to act out. Hire a dog sitter if possible to keep your dog safe, engaged, and able to take bathroom breaks and walks at the ready. If your dog is good with others, you could also look for a reputable doggy day care that will keep your pup happy and boredom far, far away when you can't be around.
Set Some Time Aside For Their Play
Puzzle toys are great for keeping your dog entertained, but nothing beats playtime with you! Part of being a good dog parent is being responsible about playtime. Take time out to play fetch, run around outdoors with your dog, or test out their new toys with them. They'll benefit from the exercise and social time, and it's the perfect time to bond.