Boredom and How to Bust it in Your Dog
If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give them only two.” — Phil Pastoret
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Is your puppy acting like an adolescent teenager, rolling her eyes and proclaiming there is nothing to do in this town?
Boredom is one of the main reasons for bad behaviour (#UniversalTruth), and everything you need to know about this state of mind is described here.
So why Do Dogs Become Bored?
Although dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, they still have the same drives as their ancestors.
Their earliest ancestors (wolves) were nomadic, hunting and traveling by day and sleeping at night.
Their more modern cousins were used primarily for hunting or working, and therefore required adequate energy to perform their jobs well.
The modern dog, has not yet evolved to the sedentary lifestyle we humans have prescribed.
What are the Signs of Boredom?
Besides incessant texting and proclamations of, “UGH! I’m bored!” VetStreet says signs of boredom include excessive paw licking, chewing, destructive tendencies, barking, repetitive behaviours, and separation anxiety.
Dogs that are bored are also more likely to show aggression to housemates and strangers.
How Can I Keep my Puppy from Being Bored?
Dogs require set routines, more so than almost any other animal.
When deviations in their routine are detected, they often fill the void by displaying boredom behaviours.
Keep exercise, play time, meals, and potty breaks consistent so that your dog knows when and what to expect.
The number one boredom buster is exercise.
Did you know that all dog breeds require a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily, with some dogs needing hours of activity per day just to remain sane (if you weren’t a marathoner runner before, it’s time to invest in a pair of running shoes!)
We discussed this subject in Chapter Thirty-Two ‘Exercise & Your Dog.’ Here’s the link if you missed it first time around.
Dogs are basically hairier versions of human children, and, as you likely know, children need structured play time unless you want to be asked nine trillion times if you’re ready to play hide and go seek.
Find a game that fits your dog’s individual needs, and work it into the day.
A great way to stave off boredom is to provide your pet with an interactive toy.
The more your dog uses her brain, the more emotionally satisfied she will be (and possibly, more likely to outsmart you in the future).
Any time your dog uses her brain, you are creating a worn out pup.
Obedience class and subsequent drill sessions are a fantastic way to keep your pet from plotting the demise of your couch cushions.
The reason most parents have a second baby is so that the first can be told to go play with its brother or sister, right..?
In the same way that kids entertain one another, a second dog creates marginally more work while providing the benefit of entertaining dog #1.
Not looking to add a pup to the household? Then find a friend who is willing to set up puppy play dates or consider taking your pup to a reputable daycare centre or to the dog park.
Finally, one of the best ways to keep your dog from being bored is to provide a job for her to perform. This subject is vast in itself, so we’ll dedicate an entire blog solely to this topic. Next!
Pup-Update – 2 1/2 Years
Jerry has never shied away from a good run at the park. With his Cocker nose firmly to the ground and tail waggin,’ he takes off at the sniff of a tennis ball… getting enough exercise has never been difficult to achieve in our household. When it comes to boredom busting, I think the paw is firmly on the other foot -as Jerry is excellent when it comes to the chase, but not so good when it comes to returning the ball. In fact, I’m not sure if he’s ever returned the ball, which as you can understand -gives me plenty to do. Keeps me sharp with no time to snooze. Being a member of the Retriever breed, I had always thought Jerry would sport a firmly entrenched homing signal. Rather, my little man is an adventurer at heart. Keeping his eye on the ball, is only of interest until something else pops up like a bird, rabbit or bush turkey … I definitely get my fair share of exercise when chasing Jerry while off the lead.
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
So we’ve got a handle on tactically busting boredom in our pet. So when it comes to dishing out jobs in the household, what kind of tasks can we set our canine? Next we take a look at the ‘Importance of Providing a Job for your Dog.’
Watch this space – Chapter Thirty-Four – Coming Soon
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Photo Credits: Arlo – @arlothecavoodle, Calvin – @calvinthecockerspaniel, Maisie, FADM, Barry, Jax, Bailey – @baileyb767, Bella, Jerry – @jerrythecockerspan @jerrythecockerspan, Sunny & Grommy @twooilyems