It can be hard for any dog owner to leave their pet alone for extended periods and not worry about how their pet is doing. Dogs left alone often get bored, and that is when they are most likely to get into mischief, such as excessive chewing, scratching and barking, among other things. If only we could bring our pups to work with us, but for most this isn’t an option, so here are some tips for helping your dog cope with boredom:
Keep Your Walking Routine Interesting and Different
One way to keep your dog from getting bored is to make your walking routine interesting. Going on the same walk around the block every morning before you leave for work won’t provide the stimulation a dog needs, so can contribute to boredom. Introduce different routines, especially before leaving your dog for long periods of time. Can you take a different route or go explore a new area of the neighborhood? Maybe take a short drive to a new spot your dog has never experienced. If you can’t easily walk your dog in new places, consider incorporating treats and simple obedience training into your daily walk routine to make it a little more exciting.
Give Your Dog Plenty of Exercise
Make sure your walks incorporate exercise! Tire out your dog as much as possible before leaving. Find a place like your yard, a field or a dog park where you can let your pet off leash to run and play for at least 20 minutes. A game of fetch that encourages running, is a great way to tire your pet before you leave. Maybe a family member or a neighbor can take your dog along for that morning jog or you can have a puppy play date in a fenced in yard that allows them to run freely. With plenty of exercise your dog will be ready for a nap when you leave and may not even notice you are gone.
Have a Rotation of Dog Toys
Provide your dog with a variety of toys to keep things interesting. Give them a toy that makes noise, different kinds of chew toys and real bones that cover a variety of textures, flavors, shapes and sizes. It is good to alternate toys every few days so they will have something new and interesting.
There are a wide variety of bones both real and artificial you can get for your dog, which provide hours of chewing fun so take the time to look into which bones are good options for your dog. Just make sure you have something that won’t splinter and become potentially harmful and is the right size for your breed.
Interactive Dog Toys
When regular dog toys aren’t keeping your dog’s boredom at bay, consider interactive toys. There are a variety of interactive dog toys that incorporate food in a way that will keep your pet engaged like nothing else, such as a “Kong,” designed to be filled with peanut butter or other suitable food that they must lick out. You can find all kinds of interactive dog toys so look around for something that works for you but remember that a toy that incorporates food or treats will be an instant favorite. Your dog is a unique and individual animal so figure out what excites them most and don’t be afraid to mix it up and try new things.
Incorporate Obedience Training
Learning is a great way to relieve boredom. New tricks and commands taught in short sessions can be a good way to give your dog a sense of purpose. Dogs love to be useful and have mental stimulation. Help your pup feel like they have important jobs to do around the house and they will feel confident and fulfilled.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and teach your dog how to do something a little different. Maybe you can train your dog to bring you your slippers in the morning or how to put away their own dog toys or learn a command to roll all the way across a room. With any dog training, remember to keep it short and keep it fun!
Remember Professional Dog Trainers are Always There for You
There are a variety of tools and tricks you can use to prevent dog boredom that will depend on what works best for your unique pet. If you have tried it all and your dog is still suffering from boredom or is chewing or barking excessively when left alone, there may be a behavioral issue like anxiety that can be addressed. If you ever need help with training or solving a particular issue with your dog don’t be afraid to reach out and schedule a session with My Dog Listens.