Being helpful and working alongside humans has been the most natural behaviour for dogs for thousands of years. Sure there are differences in activeness and helpfulness between breeds, but any animal that doesn't get to behave in ways distinctive to their species is going to get frustrated.
Most dogs spend their days alone at home and sometimes their humans are too tired to play or go for a long walk after work. So it's no wonder many dogs and their owners are faced with boredom and the problem of how to "treat" it.
Here are the most common habits of a bored dog:
Depending on the breed, some dogs love to entertain themselves by chewing. Chewing shoes, furniture, doors, rugs, their own feet or someone else's feet is definitely a sign of boredom.
Other breeds are much more inclined to bark when they're frustrated, especially when left alone. Sure, dogs can be trained not to bark with spray collars for example, but training is a lot more effective when the root of the problem is addressed. And this root is in many cases pure boredom.
Digging is another activity that dog's may find amusing when bored and that can cause harm to their owners. Digging tendencies can also appear inside the house, even if there's no sand or houseplant soil to dig. Digging on a couch or on a rug can leave marks and is not a very productive hobby for the dog.
Then let's move on to some great resolutions to this boredom issue!
1. Make Them Work
Dogs aren't built to just be handed food and affection, they like to earn it! Some great ways to make your dog work for their lunch and dinner are frozen treats, chewable bones and sticks and hiding food around the house.
Anything frozen takes a lot more time to consume, and you can even freeze a bone inside a cart of water or broth to make it harder for the dog to get to the prize. Playing the hiding game can also be fun! Remember to hide the pieces in places that the dog is allowed to pick food from, so maybe don't hide any on tables, couches, side tables or chairs.
2. New Things
Mental stimulation may well be the best way to wear out the extra energy with your dog. That is why introducing new things, places, people and tricks is a great answer to boredom!
Change up your favourite walk route or take a drive and walk in totally a new area, meet new people with your dog, take them with you running errands and lastly teach them something new. Especially training stimulates the dog's mind in a way that makes them feel needed, strengthens the bond between you and the dog plus makes them sleepy as ever.
3. Keep Them Busy
Puzzles and interactive dog toys are an easy way to entertain the dog while you are away. Even simple dog toys entertain your dog longer if you rotate them and only have a few available at a time. For dogs that love to dig and splash a digging box or a dog pool are great activities. A regular kids sand box or kiddie pool work perfectly!
4. Play Date
This one is pretty self-explanatory: give your dog some friends! This is exciting to your dog and takes up some mental space from all that chewing and barking. Meeting other dogs and humans at a dog park or at an agility track is easy, but one on one play dates may be the best way to start. And what would be cuter than two doggies that are best friends forever?
Hope this was helpful to you and your dog! Which tip worked the best for you? Did you come up with some of your own?