Did you know that, like humans, dogs can get bored? Dog boredom usually occurs when your pup isn't getting enough mental stimulation, physical exercise or enrichment. And when a dog is bored, it usually manifests in negative or problematic behaviors, like destruction. Fortunately, there are ways to bust the boredom. Here are the causes of dog boredom and ideas for bored dogs.
Why Dogs Get Bored
In general, dogs become bored because they don't have enough to do or think about and are not able to expend their excess energy. In particular, boredom often occurs when a dog isn't getting enough physical exercise, mental stimulation, socialization, enrichment, playtime or entertainment.
Though our canine companions are now meant to be just that - companions - their descendants had ways to avoid boredom that our pups don't have. For instance, the wolves and wild dogs they came from used their energy and time to find food. Then when dogs were domesticated, they were bred to perform specific jobs, such as herding cattle or retrieving game. These instincts are still strong within your dog, but he or she isn't expending the energy performing those tasks, which can result in boredom.
Signs Of Dog Boredom
Signs your dog is bored can manifest in many ways. Here are a handful of them:
- Destructive behaviors: chewing, biting, excessive licking, digging, getting into the trash, trying to escape.
- Attention seeking behaviors: barking, whining, grumbling, nudging or nuzzling, pawing, pacing, getting in your face, following you, stealing things or food.
- Overly excited behaviors: hyper greetings, zoomies or running around wildly, tail chasing, jumping.
- Depressive behaviors: listlessness, disinterest.
Pro Tip: These signs can also indicate something besides boredom, such as anxiety or pain. If your dog still exhibits these signs after you try to resolve boredom, it may be best to talk to your vet to figure out what may be going on.
How To Resolve Dog Boredom
- Change up your routine walks (e.g. try a new route)
- Begin exercising with your dog (e.g. running or biking)
- Try new ways for your dog to exercise (e.g. swimming or hiking)
- Play brain games (e.g. find the treat)
- Incorporate learning into your current games
- Use mentally stimulating toys or products (e.g. puzzle toys or snuffle mats)
- Socialize your dog
- Give more chewing bones or toys