Left without stimulation or opportunity to exercise, dogs quickly get bored and lonely. They can become introverted and listless and possibly put on weight. Alternatively they can become destructive, aggressive and bark and howl continuously. These dogs are not getting back at humans; they are just trying to entertain themselves. Either way, a bored dog is an unhappy dog and just like people who are unhappy, they are often mentally depressed.
Here are some helpful easy tips to avoid boredom and loneliness:
To keep dogs entertained while they are on their own, they can be provided with a range of virtually indestructible toys. Some can be filled with part of the dog’s daily food or treat allowance, making the dog “work” to get the food out. Daily play sessions with the owner or other dogs are essential for socialisation and will also help make your dog tired!
This quietens dogs down by giving them ‘work therapy’ which replaces what they would get as working dogs. It also brings dogs under better control. The commands learned can also be used in other situations, such as telling the dog to ‘drop’ if he/she starts to be aggressive. Once again, it reinforces the handler’s status as pack leader.
Dogs are happy running around their own property, but they are at their happiest if they can get free-running exercise off their property too. Racing around as they like, playing and following their nose stimulates them, quietens them down and again, tires them out.
Chewing is a natural behaviour in dogs of all ages. Chewing keeps your dog’s interest and reduces stress while helping to enhance the health of their teeth and gums. Mixing in wet food, gravy or peanut butter will provide a bigger challenge and keep your dog entertained for longer!
Boredom in dogs is a common problem, but one which is difficult to detect because they can’t communicate their boredom to us. It is a very simple problem to overcome if you just consider the few basic needs of your pet. If you would like some ideas on how to keep your pets entertained, come and see us at the clinic – we would be delighted to help you find a solution.
Remember all animals need a reason to exist – dogs are no different to the rest of us!