Photo By: Pixabay
We all know what it feels like to be bored. The minutes slowly tick by and if you don’t find something to do soon you might scream. You might even unknowingly turn to bad habits to occupy your time such as biting your nails or performing a drum solo with your fingertips. Now imagine you’re a dog cooped up inside. There are only so many hours you can spend napping or chewing on the same toy until you go stir crazy. Dogs love getting outside to explore and sniff around to not only cure boredom, but get some exercise too.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Bored?
Fortunately your dog can’t say, “I’m bored” every five minutes, but your pooch can certainly manifest his boredom in other ways such as:
- Chewing/Nibbling on himself, furniture, and other items within reach
- Engaging in behavior to seek your attention such as barking, jumping, licking, nipping, or following you around
- Showing signs of depression
- A sudden engagement in negative behavior such as scratching, digging, or whining
While your pooch certainly looks content and happy napping lazily in the sun, chances are if he sees the dog leash, that tail will get to wagging immediately. Keep in mind that simply letting your pooch out to use the bathroom isn’t enough to stave off boredom – you’ve got to engage him. Besides, a human companion is necessary for a doggy adventure, so it’s up to you to get Fido up and moving.
What Are my Options?
So your pooch is bored – now what? The good news is that there are plenty of activities the two of you can enjoy outdoors together, but you’ll need to make sure the leash is mastered first. If your pooch doesn’t have the best cooperation when it comes to leashed walking, running, jogging, etc., it’s best to start out with a regular leash as opposed to a retractable one to give you more control over Fido’s movements. Practice makes perfect, and a trainer probably won’t hurt either, but once it’s mastered, the two of you have opened up a world of boredom-fighting opportunities. Perhaps you could go for a nature hike, play a game of fetch, or take your walk to a new location filled with unfamiliar sights and smells such as the park, dog park, or even a nearby neighborhood. If the weather isn’t cooperating, or you just don’t have time for an extended adventure, give your pooch some indoor stimulation. Toys that dispense treats are always a fan favorite, as are puzzle toys or a rousing game of tug-of-war.
Hire a Boredom Buster
Work and life obligations leave you with far less time than you’d like, but lucky for you there are people like Beth Efird of Rocky Mountain Dog Runner whose goal it is to make sure your pooch is occupied and happy. “I feel like a rock star every time I walk into a home. I know that I am a highlight of their day, getting to go outside and release some energy,” Efird says. However, Efird is more than just your traditional dog walker, offering jogs, runs, and hikes to make sure your pooch expends all that excess energy. Each outing is catered to your dog’s needs, so you can be sure Fido will return wagging and smiling.
Remember, your pooch gets bored just like you do, but a little extra attention and an adventure or two will surely cure it. Utilize what time you have, but consider bringing in a professional dog adventurist for those times in between. Your pooch will be tired, happy, and thankful.