Do dogs get bored? The simple answer is yes. Like anything human or animal, a dog can get bored and stressed, which can manifest in behavioural issues. Dogs are social creatures, and in the wild, they would have been in packs, so humans become their pack for the domestic dog. Ensuring your dog doesn’t get bored can be made a lot easier by understanding enrichment principles.
We tend to accept that we have busy lives, and sometimes this means that we go out to work and leave our dogs home alone. We have generally forgotten that our dogs no longer have a purpose when it comes to working. We can find them two relatively small spaces, and everything is up to us. When they eat, when they walk, how they socialise, and generally, we micromanage their time. So, it is up to us to ensure that we provide as much as possible to offer our pets a well-rounded, happy life.
More Than Walking
Generally, we are very good at ensuring our dogs are physically exercised; we take them on walks and, where possible allow them to roam off lead. But they also need a form of mental stimulation to avoid being bored. This is where enrichment comes in, and we can provide a lot of added extras to ensure they are stimulated and not stressed. The good thing is enrichment doesn’t need to cost a lot of money; there are lots of things we can incorporate into our dog’s day to ensure that they are mentally challenged.
Dogs work a lot by scent, so we must give them a chance to exercise their noses. While it is great to let them run off lead, a sniff walk around the area is also tiring mentally, giving a great alternative. This is done by taking your dog out on a loose lead and letting them choose the direction, and allowing him to stop and sniff whenever they feel. This might seem quite tiresome for you, but it is very stimulating for your dog.
Games and Training
Playing games with your dog can also be mentally stimulating. A quick YouTube search will reveal plenty of intelligent dogs working their brains, including a collie who can identify over 200 different soft toys by name. Now you don’t have to get that diligent but even basic training like sit, stay, rollover, and others are another great way to make your dog work.
Many people enjoy teaching their dogs to work their noses by hiding a glove or toy and getting the dog to seek it out. A homemade agility course is also another way to make the brain cogs get turning, jumping, weaving, and generally learning to work with you as a team.
You can also purchase various dog training games, with the general premise being that treats are hidden inside a door or behind a lever, and the dog must work out how to retrieve the treat. Be careful that you do not overfeed your dog with these games.
Below are some articles by Derek Chambers that you may be interested in.
- D.I.Y Dog Toys for Enrichment
- So you have a bored dog
- Canine Enrichment: Keeping Your Dog Happy
- Ditch the Bowel