How do I recognise dog boredom?
Lack of mental stimulation and exercise during the day leaves our dogs looking for something to do, and often it’s not something we approve of.
Stimulation not only prevents boredom but also cultivates your dog’s personality and wards off stress. Psychologist Dr Stanley Coren has authored many books on dog psychology and says the most important stimuli for dogs include:
Exposure to interesting places and things
Frequent opportunities to learn things and solve problems
Investigating and interacting with objects and the environment around them
So how do I ensure my dog remains stimulated to avoid boredom which could cause disruption.
You can mix up your dog’s toy stash to keep them interested and don’t leave toys scattered about. Hide and rotate toys over time so when they come back into rotation, they’re brand new again. You can also hide toys around the house or garden.
Bored dogs often have a lot of pent-up energy. Give them enough physical activity, though, and the same dogs will be tired and more likely to spend the rest of the day napping.
Turning mealtime into a game will help keep your dog entertained. Try a slow feeder dish, stuff some peanut butter or let your dog knock around a treat dispensing ball filled with part of his dinner or small low calorie treats.
Although it’s a lot of work in the beginning, being a multi-dog household gives your dogs built-in socialisation and stimulation. Make sure your dogs get along, though—don’t pair an alpha dog with an alpha dog and expect peace and harmony.
Get help from a certified dog behaviourist or trainer before bringing home a second furry family member.