Does your dog spend long hours on her own? Is she bored out of her fuzzy little mind? Mental stimulation for your dog is just as important as regular exercise. So if you’re not around most of the day, your dog is lacking exercise and mental stimulation.
What’s worse, in your absence, your dog may begin to go a tad stir-crazy, which can lead to other behavioral and health issues.
Dogs are smart, social animals. They love to be around their favorite people are playing as part of a group. Many dogs were even bred to perform duties for their people, so if you have one of these breeds, you may need to provide plenty of activities as energy outlets.
Is Your Dog Bored? What You Can Do To Help
Here are a few signs that your dog needs some stimulation:
- Jumping up: on you, the furniture, the counter, guests
- Excessive barking or whining: especially when you leave
- Destructive behavior: chewing
- on the furniture, scratching at the door knocking things over
- Escaping: running away, digging under fences, leaving the yard
- Urinating when excited: abnormally peeing when you come home
- Chewing or licking paws: due to boredom, stimulating themselves (causing wounds)
- Depression or lethargy; sleepy, listless, changes in behavior
- Nipping; herding you, trying to get your attention
- Aggressive behavior toward other dogs or pets; growling, nipping, snapping
- Digging: digging holes in the yard…everywhere
Some of these signs may also be indicators of separation anxiety, or underlying health concerns. It’s best to rule out health issues with a visit to your veterinarian, especially if these behaviors are sudden changes.
Mental Stimulation for Your Dog and Exercise Go Hand-in-Hand
1. CURE DOG BOREDOM WITH DAILY EXERCISE
2. START TRAINING YOUR DOG
Whether you’re training your dog to sit, hunt or perform next level tricks, training gives your dogs brain something to do, and in many cases, exercise goes along with it.
BONUS: Training will also foster a strong, trusting relationship between you and your best friend.
3. INTRODUCE PUZZLE BOWLS
Puzzle bowls are often used to slow a chow hound down. These puzzles not only help your pup practice better eating habits, but they take time giving her something challenging to do. Filling a Kong with an entire meal and placing it in the freezer for a few hours, is a great challenge for your dog for it will take her the longest amount of time to finish eating.
4. MAKE NEW FRIENDS
Socializing your dog with fellow canines is a stimulating way to keep your dog active. Plan weekly walks with dog owners in your neighborhood. If possible plan play dates in a fenced in yard, allowing pups to run and play together.
5. HIRE A DOG WALKER
Life happens, and we all get busy. Career change, babies are born, and people get sick… It’s just how it goes. So when you can’t be there to give your dog to exercise or mental stimulation they need, you can always hire a trustworthy dog walker to give your dog some attention exercise and beat boredom.