Are you wondering if your dog is bored? The answer is yes! Dogs can easily become bored without the proper play, stimulation, and exercise, especially high-energy working breeds like Border Collies. Bored dogs often exhibit signs of restlessness and may even engage in destructive behaviors to entertain themselves. Chewing on furniture, excessive barking, jumping, digging, and getting into things they shouldn’t are all telltale signs of a bored pup. In a study conducted by canine behavior expert Dr. Emily Blackwell, it was found that dogs who received less playtime from their owners were more likely to develop behavioral problems such as anxiety, aggression, and disobedience. So, if you want to keep your four-legged friend happy and well-behaved, it’s important to provide them with physical and mental stimulation through interactive play and engaging activities.
Is your Dog Bored? Common Signs of Boredom to look for
You may be wondering, do dogs get bored? The answer is YES! Without proper play, stimulation, and exercise, dogs can easily become bored, especially the higher energy working breeds like border collies.
Dogs that are bored often show signs or find destructive ways to entertain themselves. Some common signs of boredom in dogs include excessive chewing, such as chewing on furniture, walls, doors, or stairs. They may also engage in behaviors like barking, whining, jumping up, scratching, and pawing. Other signs of boredom include digging, getting into garbage or things they shouldn’t, and other destructive or unwanted behaviors.
If we don’t play with them and keep them physically and mentally stimulated or busy, dogs may invent their own fun and games or get distressed and behave “badly”. Canine behavior experts have found that dogs that do not receive enough playtime and mental stimulation are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems such as anxiety, aggression, pulling on the lead, whining, and not coming when called.
Quick and Easy Ways to Relieve Dog Boredom
Play Fetch, especially if you have a working breed
Fetching is a classic game that many dogs love, especially working breeds. It’s a great way to get them moving and provide mental stimulation as they chase after the thrown object and bring it back to you. Make sure you use a safe and appropriate object for fetching, such as a ball or a toy designed for this purpose.
Play Tug and throw in ‘drop it’ training
Tug-of-war is another fun game that helps to relieve dog boredom. It allows them to engage their natural instinct to pull and tug, providing both physical and mental exercise. It’s important to establish clear rules and boundaries when playing tug, including teaching your dog a reliable “drop it” command to prevent possessiveness or aggression.
Play ‘Fighty Face’ and wrestle/tickle/cuddles
Playing “Fighty Face” with your dog involves gentle wrestling, tickling, and cuddling. This game allows your dog to express their natural playfulness and can be a great bonding experience. Make sure to establish clear boundaries and use gentle play to avoid any potential harm or overstimulation.
Dancing with your dog can be a fun and entertaining way to relieve boredom. You can teach them simple dance moves or freestyle together to your favorite music. Dancing not only provides physical exercise but also engages their brain as they learn new movements and follow your lead.
Play with toys together
Playing with toys is a great way to stimulate your dog’s mind and relieve boredom. You can engage in interactive play by using toys that require problem-solving, such as puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys. This will keep them mentally engaged and entertained.
Do some puzzles and hidden treat games
Puzzles and hidden treat games are excellent ways to provide mental stimulation for your dog. You can create your own puzzles using cups or tennis balls in a cupcake pan, or you can purchase puzzles specifically designed for dogs. These games require your dog to use their problem-solving skills to find hidden treats or toys, keeping them entertained and mentally sharp.
Play disc if you have the space and your dog enjoys
If you have enough space, playing disc with your dog can be a fun and active way to relieve boredom. Disc games involve throwing a flying disc for your dog to catch and retrieve. Some dogs have a natural talent for this game and enjoy the challenge and physical exercise it provides.
Go for a walk or a run (where allowed with social distancing)
Taking your dog for a walk or a run is a simple yet effective way to relieve boredom. It provides physical exercise, mental stimulation from exploring new environments, and a chance for your dog to socialize with other dogs and humans (where allowed and with appropriate social distancing measures in place).
Stuff a Kong and freeze it
Stuffing a Kong toy with treats or peanut butter and freezing it can keep your dog entertained for a long time. It provides mental stimulation as they work to extract the treats and helps to cool them down on hot days. The frozen Kong also doubles as a soothing chew toy.
Work for part of meals
Instead of feeding your dog their meals in a regular bowl, you can make them work for their food. You can use training exercises or simple tricks to engage their minds and make mealtime more exciting. For example, you can ask them to perform tricks or play a game of hide and seek with their food.
Bully Stick Chews
Bully sticks are a natural and long-lasting chew treat for dogs. They help to satisfy their natural instinct to chew and can keep them occupied and entertained for a while. Bully sticks also promote good dental health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup.
Cook homemade dog treats together
Cooking homemade dog treats can be a fun activity for both you and your dog. You can find simple and dog-friendly recipes online and involve your dog in the process, such as helping to mix ingredients or watching the treats bake. This activity provides mental stimulation and creates tasty rewards for your dog.
Do Yoga or Doga classes together online
Yoga or Doga (dog yoga) classes can be a great way to bond with your dog while also providing physical and mental exercise. There are many online classes and resources available that guide you through yoga poses and stretches that can include your dog. Make sure to choose poses and exercises that are safe and comfortable for both you and your dog.
Do your own version of the toilet paper challenge or mini agility
Incorporating agility exercises or creating your own toilet paper challenge can be a fun way to keep your dog entertained and active. You can set up obstacle courses using household items like chairs, tunnels, and blankets. This provides mental and physical stimulation for your dog as they navigate through the course.
Do obedience training and learn some new tricks
Obedience training is an essential part of keeping your dog mentally stimulated and well-behaved. Investing time in training sessions helps reinforce their understanding of commands and strengthens the bond between you and your dog. You can also teach them new tricks to add variety and challenge to their training routine.
Listen to music or watch funny dog videos or DOG TV
Playing music or watching funny dog videos or DOG TV can provide entertainment and mental stimulation for your dog. Certain types of music and TV programs have been shown to help relieve anxiety and boredom in dogs. Experiment with different types of music and videos to see what captures your dog’s interest.
Additional Joke Boredom Busters from The Backseat Barkers
If you’re looking for some lighthearted and humorous ways to relieve boredom, here are a few additional ideas from The Backseat Barkers:
- Do “zoom cocktails” with friends
- Play video games together
- Do those chores you’ve been putting off together
Remember, playing more with your dog is not only a way to keep them physically fit but also mentally stimulated and happy. Engaging in interactive play and providing various forms of entertainment will help prevent boredom and unwanted behaviors in your dog. So, get creative and have fun with your furry friend!