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. When our golden lab Cookie was bored inside in winter, she would chew on the basement wall and stairs and sofa. When Kilo gets bored, and wants to play, he comes and paws at me or jumps on me or nips and whines. If home alone, he sometimes empties the recycling all over the floor or climbs like a ninja or opens doors and gets into “food” he shouldn’t or digs up houseplants or chews slippers. My friend Marcy’s dog set up his own toilet paper challenge when she wasn’t looking. Dogs of all ages and sizes need physical and mental stimulation. They need entertainment and play, several times a day.
Is your Dog Bored? Common Signs of Boredom to look for:
- excessive chewing, including furniture or walls or doors or stairs
- barking, whining
- jumping up, scratching and pawing
- getting into garbage or things they shouldn’t
- other destructive or unwanted behaviors.
If we don’t play with them and keep them physically and mentally simulated or busy, dogs may invent their own fun and games or get distressed and behave “badly”.
Canine behaviour expert Dr Emily Blackwell at Bristol University did a study with 4,000 dog owners and discovered that the less they played with their pets, the more likely the dogs were to suffer from one or more of 22 behavioural problems. These behaviors include anxiety, aggression, pulling on the lead, whining, and not coming when called.
43% of the dog owners reported that fetch is their dogs favorite game followed by chase, tugging at toys, and wrestling. According to the survey, tennis balls were the dogs’ favorite toys followed by soft squeaky toys, rubber balls, and rope toys.
Kilo the pug does not like bring to retrieve things and give them to me, but he really loves to chase and grab the toys I throw, then tease me with them. He also loves playing tug, tickle/wrestling, chase/football and go find, especially with treats. He also loves doing tricks as we treat them like games. He is not a fan of tennis balls but he loves his soft plush soccer ball and other plush toys, and even empty plastic water bottles. He will go to his toy basket alone and play and chew for a little while but he way prefers it if I seem interested in the toy too.
See this post of Top 10 awesome indoor games to play with your dog for inspiration.
Humans and dogs are two of the few species of mammals that continue to play well into adulthood so playing with your dog can be really fun, as well as healthy for both of you. Playing games with your dog is not only a way to keep them physically fit it’s also mentally stimulating and can relieve boredom.
Here are some simple ideas on how to increase play time, avoid boredom and improve your bond with your dog.
Quick and Easy Ways to Relieve Dog Boredom
Play Fetch, esecially if you have a working breed.
Play Tug and throw in “drop it” training
Play “Fighty Face” and wrestle/tickle/cuddles – Kilo loves playing this with my husband after work. He has learned to be gentle with his mouth or the game stops.
Dance together- Kilo is learning to weave with me and loves dancing around on his hind legs.
Play with toys together– Kilo and I play football with his plush or plastic bottles and he scores goals when he gets to the sofas at each end of the house.
Do some puzzles and hidden treat games– you can make your own with upside down cups or tennis balls in a cupcake pan.
Kilo has several puzzles plus he loves his BUSTER ActivityMat By Kruuse that comes with 3 levels of difficulty to keep your dog challenged (we received it as a gift at Global Pet Expo- See The Full Review HERE.)
Play disc if you have the space and your dogs enjoys (Kilo is not interested but I know other dogs that LOVE disc)
Go for a walk or a run (where allowed with social distancing).
Stuff a Kong and freeze it- Kilo loves chewing and sucking on that for ages.
Work for part of meals. Kilo does a trick or plays go find for some of his kibble.
Bully Stick Chews– Kilo really enjoys playing go find for a Bullwrinkles Bully Stick and then relaxes and chews.
Cook homemade dog treats together with tricks like shut cupboard doors, clean dishes. See our easy Dog Licks Dog Cookie treat recipe here.
Do Yoga or Doga classes together online
Do your own version of the toilet paper challenge or mini agility inside the house or in the garden if you are lucky enough to have one.
Do obedience training and learn some new tricks – check out our trick training posts plus some of Kilo’s tricks in the video.
I like Larry Kay’s big book of tricks for the best dog ever – see review here.
We are currently working on roll over, take a bow, play dead, look shy, boing boing, weaving, dancing and a few others. We do 5 minutes at a time at least twice a day.
You can buy the book through my Amazon Affiliate Link here:
The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks and Stunts
Listen to music or watch funny dog videos or DOG TV- apparently certain music and TV can help relieve anxiety or boredom for some dogs.
You can also check out this post on Ways to Get Active Indoors With Your Dog
Additional Joke Boredom Busters from The Backseat Barkers:
Do zoom cocktails with friends.
Play video games together.
Do those chores you’ve been putting off together.
Play more with your dog and keep them healthy, happy and out of trouble
Plus Dog Lovers, if you are feeling down or bored – check out our ideas for keeping busy here.