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April 15, 2022 5 min read
Is your dog bored? Are you looking for some quick ways to keep your dog busy and stimulated? You’re definitely not alone.
When dogs get bored they can develop some pretty destructive behaviors. For hundreds of years, dogs were bred to work alongside us (think hunting and farming), so most of them are built to burn physical and mental energy and do work.
The problem is most of us don’t have actual jobs for our dogs to do. They don’t have to work for their food, affection or toys; they get it all for free. And while getting stuff for free is great, it leaves many of our dogs with a lot of down time.
So what happens when our dogs get bored? They get into trouble. If we don’t keep our dogs mentally simulated or busy they’ll come up with their own ways to pass the time, which might mean some household destruction that you probably won’t like: barking, chewing, and destructive digging are just some of those behaviors.
Luckily there are a many simple ways to keep your dog busy, entertained and out of trouble. Here’s 15 easy peasy ways to bust through dog boredom.
Exposing your dog to new people and places is an important part of puppy socialization. It’s great for older dogs, too. Just like any behaviors, a dog that isn’t exposed to new sights, sounds, and places can get a bit rusty. Work on their social skills every once in while with some new dogs and people. Play dates are a great way to socialize too!
Use this handy Treats Bag to hide treats around the house or play a game of hide and seek with your dog to add in some extra mental stimulation to their routine. It’s one of the most versatile games you can teach your dog. Start with a simple game of ‘guess which hand’ to get them started. It can be played anywhere, with toys or treats you already have.
When you leave your dog at home or need to get on a conference call, give your dog a treat dispensing toy or another tough interactive toy to keep their mind occupied. This Dog Treat Ball & Toy is perfect for small treats, or spread some peanut butter on a lick mat to provide some tasty stimulation and extra time for you to get your work done.
If your dog’s home alone for long periods of time consider hiring a dog walker or a temp sitter. If you don’t want to hire someone see if one of your neighbors, relatives or friends would be willing to stop by every once and a while to let your dog out for a nice walk or game of tug.
According to studies dogs get bored with the same old toys. To keep your dog interested in their toys only give him access to a few at a time. Keep them interested by playing a simple game of fetch with this Rope Knot Ball or giving them an interactive squeaker toy like Lucy the Goosie. Interaction will always make a toy much more desirable.
Freeze dogs treats in ice cube trays or make some ice cubes from broth. These are a great way to occupy your dog when you leave the house or need to do some chores.
Tug is a great way to mentally and physically challenge your dog. Short games of tug work well for tiring out our canine friends. Contrary to myth, playing tug of war with your dog will not make him aggressive. If you don’t have a tug toy you can make your own with some fleece or old t-shirts.
Tip: Be sure to play in a safe area where no dogs or humans can get injured.
Dogs are social creatures, so a nice belly rub, massage, or grooming session is an easy way to create a meaningful interaction with your dog. It’s a great way to bond and keep your dog occupied at the same time.
When it’s time for their meals you can use a treat dispensing toy like Dog Treat Ball & Toy or make them do a few tricks to work for it. If you feed kibble, you can also try hiding pieces around the house as a form of hide and seek.
Dogs love to feel helpful. Teach your dog to put their toys away, take empty boxes to the recycling bin, load up the dirty laundry, or any other chores around the house. Incorporating your dog into daily tasks helps build their confidence; a dog that feels useful is a happy, confident dog.
Dogs like to know what’s happening outside so give them a chance to scope out the yard. A lot of dogs love napping in the warm sunlight in front of windows, and using a bed like the Cuddle Cloud can provide extra soft cuddles to help them sleep peacefully. Of course if you have cats they might have to compete for the nice sun spot.
One simple way to relieve dog boredom is by making a DIY puzzle toy for your dog. If you’ve got a few containers (think shoebox or yogurt tubs), you can play smell and seek by hiding treats in a few containers and letting your dog sniff test to find the treat. You can easily make yourself a dog puzzle right at home.
Clicker training your dog can be used for training new behaviors and rewarding ones you didn’t even ask for. It’s a way to clearly communicate with your dog the exact moment they perform a desired behavior; all the extra mental stimulation makes for a tired doggie. Dogs are always learning from us – just teaching them where to sit while you prepare dinner is mentally stimulating and enforcing good manners.
A lot of dogs naturally love water; on a summer day they will love just splashing around and wading in a shallow pool. If you live by a dog friendly beach or lake even better. Many dogs love a good swim – not just Labs. Similar to humans, it’s an amazing exercise for dogs with arthritis since it’s low impact.
Another fun way to bust through dog boredom is by making your own DIY agility course. It’s a good way to brush up on some basic obedience and teach them some fun tricks at the same time. Weave poles, a ramp, tunnel, or just a simple jump. Use old boxes, trash cans, laundry hampers, and pillows for a simple at home solution.
Giving your dog mental and physical exercise will be beneficial to everyone in the short and long term. Your dog will gladly be your happy sidekick in everything you do. But more importantly, your dog will be happy doing activities on their own when you’re busy, and you won’t have to worry about your home being destroyed.