Pets can get bored just like people, especially pets that are alone for extended periods of time. Dogs in particular, even those left in the company of other dogs, can be a real terror when unattended. Once left to their own devices, the nasty little habit of destructive behavior can rear its ugly head leaving your home in shreds, inside and out. Whether it’s a destroyed flowerbed or your sofa, it can be expensive and maddening. You can always try a PetCube for monitoring them, but here are some good tips for battling boredom for dogs and keeping that destructive behavior at bay that are better in the long run.
Exercising Your Dog
This first one may seem pretty obvious, but a lot of people either don’t recognize the connection between a lack of exercise and boredom or they choose to ignore it. Either way, if you don’t want your dog or dogs to pester you to no end when you’re trying to enjoy a little down time or end up with a yard full of uprooted petunias, then you need to walk or run the excess energy out of them. While you’re at it, mix it up. Varying your routine will engage your dog more so than the same old spin around the block. Try a ball thrower with a long handle for a game of fetch or the dog park.
Dog Toys & Games
Playing games with your dogs or setting up an obstacle course are also good ways to keep boredom at bay. Play Frisbee with them or tug of war with a rope or even hide and seek with a treat they have to sniff out. Kongs can be filled with peanut butter, biscuits or chewy snacks, and they can keep dogs occupied for quite a while. There are also puncture-resistant toys like Zogoflex, the Varsity Ball and the Jolly Ball that bounce, or balls that make noise like the Babble Ball, the Wiggly Giggly and the Wobble Wag Giggle. All of these are tough and durable and can provide hours of entertainment.
Work on Commands & Tricks
Assuming your dogs already know their basic commands, try introducing a new trick into their repertoire, such as “shake,” “roll over,” or balancing a treat on their nose. These activities stimulate their minds as they’re trying to grasp what it is you want them to achieve. Mental taxation can be just as tiring as physical taxation and may take some of the pep, vim and vigor out of your dog at the end of the day. If you remind yourself that dogs initially were bred to serve a purpose and perform a job (companion breeds came later), then it’s easy to understand why they still need something to do. Use the reward system for teaching these commands.
Doggy Day Care or Camp
Some people have dog sitters or folks that come over expressly to walk their pets while they’re away at work. If you don’t have time or you’d feel better having your dog in the care of professionals, then consider taking them to day care. Besides box stores like PetSmart with their fabulous Doggie Day Camp, there are some places like K9 Kampus that are set up strictly for the purpose of dog sitting. Many of them have amazing facilities where dogs interact, play, go for swims, get treats and can even get a quick grooming while they’re there, killing two birds with one stone. As an added bonus, there is usually a vet on hand, should your pet need it.
It’s really not that hard to keep a dog occupied, but it will require a little effort on your part. If you do it, you and your dog will both be a lot happier.