Long hours at work, or being out running errands can leave our dogs at home for a long time. Sometimes when you have been gone too long you can return to a house of destruction. Bored dogs have a tendency to chew things they aren’t supposed to, get into things they shouldn’t, and cause havoc. Dogs will make their own fun when they are bored and need some entertainment. This can be chewing furniture, wall boards, and shoes. It can be shredding pillows, or unrolling toilet paper. Being bored doesn’t just happen while your dog is inside. It can happen when they are left outside as well. Signs of boredom outside can be digging holes, or tipping over garbage cans.
For a dog to be healthy, happy, and stable it needs both physical and mental stimulation during the day. Physical stimulation is achieved from your dog running, walking, and playing. Mental stimulation can be achieved in lots of different ways.
A good way to get your dog mental stimulation is by dog training. This can be just 5 to 10 minutes every day where you set aside special time to teach your dog new tricks. These can be simple ones such as sit, roll over, and lay down. As they master these you can then move to teaching them even more new tricks. You can teach your dog how to clean up after themselves, or teach them to go find their own toys.
Another good way to give your dog some mental stimulation is to use treat dispensing toys, or puzzle toys. These come in all kinds of shapes, and contraptions. You can find ones where they have to tip the toy a certain way to get the treats to come out. You can get a kong toy, freeze it full of peanut butter which will make it last longer for your dog to get all the peanut butter licked out.
When you leave you can leave a window open for your dog. Leaving a window open allows them to watch the world go by. Also allowing them to bark at anything and everything that moves by the window. Which if you aren’t home isn’t too much of an annoyance to you.
Just like children it can be helpful to rotate your dog’s toys. This helps keep toys feeling fresh and new. It will keep them more entertained for longer. Keeping half the toys in one basket and the others in a different one, swapping them out every few days is easy and gives your dog some fresh things without having to buy new toys all the time.
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There are even automatic toy launchers you can get for your pet. These essential play fetch with your dog without you having to be involved at all. These are great for energetic pets that need some physical stimulation when you aren’t around to give them the attention they need.
Another fun thing to do is get solo tug toys for your dog. This can be rope tied to a tree they can pull on independently. Or a ball attached to a bungee cord that they can tug on by themselves. This gives your dog another way to play without having to involve you.
Even when you are home in the evening though your dog may show signs of boredom. Signs of boredom from a dog are chewing, digging, over excitement, excessive licking, escaping, running away, pacing, panting or scratching without physical exertion. So if you notice your dog is doing any of these you may need to help get them entertained for a bit. Some things you can do with your dog is to play with them. This can be a simple game of fetch, or tug of war. Some dogs like to play hide and seek. Others may get joy out of playing a game where they have to sniff something out. Such as the shell game, where a treat is placed underneath an object and your dog has to find the treat. Taking your dog for a walk is also beneficial to their mental and physical health. Just playing outside does not give your dog the same mental stimulation that a purposeful walk does. Taking your dog to a dog park so that they can socialize is also another fun thing to do.
Bored dogs usually get into mischief. Keeping your dog entertained when you aren’t home can be hard at first. You can always invest in a doggy cam, where you can keep an eye on your pet during the day to see when they start to get bored. This can also give you insight on what toys they are more drawn to to play with, or what toys keep them entertained for the longest time. Some doggy cams also allow you to talk through them, so you can say a quick hello to your dog in the middle of your day.
Helping your dog not be bored can save you some disasters to clean up when you get home, as well as helping your dog be healthy physically and mentally.