Have you spent more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you stopped to consider how your dog is going to feel when you resume normal life? It might be worthwhile thinking about dog boredom before it’s too late.
Certainly, dogs love routine, but they also thrive on new sights, smells and sounds. Without these things, along with regular interaction, dogs can become bored.
This is particularly relevant in the current climate, as many dogs have become accustomed to their owner being at home with them. Suddenly introducing long stretches of alone time might be a shock for your beloved fur pal.
What’s the big deal about dog boredom?
It’s not uncommon for our four-legged friends to be left home alone while we go to work. However, recent times have led to more owners being at home.
As such, many dogs will have become used to having their owner with them. When this changes it’s likely there may be some issues — such as boredom. The problem with dog boredom is that it can lead to destructive behaviour, which is never a good thing! Signs of boredom can include:
- Digging the garden up
- Chewing things he or she should not be chewing (like the furniture!)
- Barking and whining
- Being generally mischievous
These things might not sound so bad but what happens when you return home and your fur pal has dug up your favourite garden plant or eaten the arm of your sofa?!
Certainly, it’s best to plan for dog boredom and address any potential problem before it arises (and you have no choice but to fork out for a new sofa!).
How to prevent boredom in dogs
There are many ways to prevent dog boredom, but don’t forget to consider mental stimulation as well as physical activity.
Exercise to prevent boredom
If you’ve been spending more days at home it’s likely your daily routine may have changed. For example, perhaps you’ve been walking your bark buddy during the day, rather than in the evening (when you get home from work).
If the easing of COVID-19 restrictions is seeing you return to work or you’re simply spending more time away from home, it’s worthwhile thinking about a new routine.
After all, a few simple changes to your routine could help prevent dog boredom. For example, if you intend to be out and about during the day, take your dog for an early morning walk to help get rid of some of his energy.
If you only have time to take your fur pal for a short walk, try running. If running is not for you, perhaps head to the local park and throw the ball so that your dog gets a little more exercise than he would just going for a walk.
Another possibility might be to consider hiring the services of a local dog walker or pet sitter. They can help ensure your dog gets the exercise and human contact he desires to prevent the onset of boredom.
Mental stimulation to prevent dog boredom
There are many gadgets and gizmos on the market to keep your dog mentally active and help prevent him or her from getting bored.
You can keep a look out for interactive food mazes, which encourages Fido to use his brain to work out how he can get to the treats. There are hide-and-seek food dispensers that test your dog’s logic and memory and there are interactive toys.
Even basic toys, such as a Kong or a rubber chew, can keep your dog from getting up to mischief when you’re not there. It’s all about gaining his attention and keeping boredom at bay.
Combining fun and food is a great way to keep your dog active, encourage him to put his brain in action and prevent boredom from setting in.
Another really easy and not so time-consuming way to help address dog boredom is to allow your dog to sniff and interact with other dogs. Engaging all your dog’s senses —sight, sound and smell—provides awesome stimulation.
Just 10-15 minutes off-leash at your local park or beach can be great mental and physical stimulation for your dog. Seeking out new places means their senses will be on overdrive.
New dogs to meet, fresh smells, unusual sights and unfamiliar smells—oh my, your fur pal will be in his element! And, hopefully, all the new-fangled sights, smells and sounds will leave him feeling exhausted and ready for a nice long sleep.
Have you had an issue with dog boredom? How did you address the problem?