Preventing boredom in dogs...

The basic problem
The problems caused by bored dogs can be varied, they can become introverted and listless, possibly putting on weight and showing no signs of interest in anything. Alternatively they can become destructive, aggressive and can bark and howl continuously when left alone.

Either way, a bored dog is an unhappy dog and just like people who are unhappy, they will do things you wouldn't expect because they are bored and often often mentally depressed.

Just like people a dog needs a purpose and a reason to live. A dog's reasons to live are mainly to eat, hunt, play and reproduce - if you make sure that they experience 3 out of 4 of these for a reasonable period every day, you should have a dog that is fairly content with it's life and therefore has no need to rebel.

Things to do
Make sure you give them several things to 'look forward to' each and every day. Never leave your dog alone for longer than an hour or so without some form of stimulation or play. If you do you are asking for them to rebel.

Make feeding time something to look forward to by feeding them at a set time. If they leave any food take it up and give it to them at the next feeding time. If your dog isn't stimulated by the food you feed them then find something they are stimulated by.

It is sometimes sufficient to flavour their food with human food - gravy, soup and the juice from baked beans are usually successful. Be sure to feed them a good quality dog food and don't simply sacrifice nutrition for taste.

Make sure they get a stimulating run every day , even in the bitterest winter . It is not sufficient to take them for a walk 'round the block' on a lead, they need to run free to investigate and 'hunt' for at least 20 minutes every day.

While you're out, leave them something to play with - smoked bones, food dispensing toys (Buster cubes etc.) and squeaky toys can be most effective.

Ensure you give them some attention and a play time when you are in, so that they appreciate they can have attention and play but that they have to wait for it.

An excellent way to keep your dog stimulated at home is to throw a handful of tasty treats (complete dog or cat food is good), into the garden for them to find. Alternatively you can hide treats around a room. As most dogs have a strong scavenging instinct, this usually keeps them very happy for 30 to 60 minutes.

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. Remember all animals need a reason to exist, dogs are no different to the rest of us.

If you have any questions or comments on any part of our work, please contact us:
Animals in Mind, Penygraig, Cwmann, Lampeter, SA48 8EZ
01570 423891 - Email Us