Boredom in dogs is like boredom in kids – destructive and highly frustrating.
When your pooch starts plotting general mischief before your car leaves the driveway, you know he’s probably bored. And like children, his choices to amuse himself aren’t options that will always match yours.
However, with the right obedience training, toys, tools and techniques, you can keep your dog happy and beat boredom.
Here’s how to keep your four-legged friend entertained this winter.
Learn to ‘Speak Dog’
When you learn how to communicate better with your dog, a higher level of understanding is created.
Regular talking builds healthier, happier relationships. When your dog is happy, his quality of life is increased and boredom and stress are reduced.
To be effective in understanding dog-body language, consider engaging with an expert dog behaviourist. Learning to ‘speak dog’ helps fulfil your role as the pack leader. If you can’t communicate, you can’t bond.
By being your dog’s leader, you teach, encourage and guide him, which helps to maintain control with compliance and enthusiasm.
Purchase Interactive Toys
Lack of exercise can be a common problem in winter. While it’s still essential your dog gets walked, interactive toys are a lifesaver in between.
Because dogs are natural problem solvers, toys that encourage interaction will help keep their minds occupied. Dog puzzles and enrichment toys involve your dog carrying out basic problem-solving skills to access a reward, usually a food treat.
The right toys are great for this when you’re at work. When you are home, however, stimulate social interaction by playing interactive games together. If your dog has a bundle of toys, keep them on rotate to prevent toy boredom.
Teach Your Pooch New Tricks
Master the basics of obedience training by teaching your dog new tricks. As crucial as physical exercise is, exercising your dog’s brain is just as vital for healthy, happy pets.
Sign up for an indoor swimming class where he can learn new skills and get a good workout. Teach him new commands, such as target focusing, or to ‘nap’, ‘bow’, ‘fetch toy’ or ‘wave’.
Make Time for Bonding
Regular bonding time is paramount to developing a long-lasting and satisfying relationship, for both parties.
Dogs crave meaningful relationships. Show him you understand that through training, hide n’ seek games and hang-out time together. This helps to create a safe place for your pooch, which can combat boredom.
Indulge in Grooming Sessions
Dogs, like humans, love to be pampered. Simple but necessary grooming, such as brushing your dog’s hair, bathing them and clipping their nails keeps them clean, happy and good-looking.
Regular brushing is important for healthy coats and brings out the natural oil in your dog’s fur. It’s also essential for removing dead hair, dirt and dandruff. Dental health can be achieved through special dog chew toys, dental treats and regular brushing to keep their teeth, gums and mouths clean.
Just because it’s raining and cold, doesn’t mean you and your four-legged pal can’t enjoy some outdoor time. Winter may limit exercise and dog-activities, but it shouldn’t eliminate it from your schedule.
If it’s cold outside, rug up with your pooch and embrace the winter woollies.
Know the Signs of Boredom
Dogs are honest creatures. If they’re suffering from boredom, they’ll let you know through typical signs. Some of these include:
- General mischief: Bored dogs will create their own fun. If your house has been turned into an amusement park through knocked over items, scattered items and opened kitchen trash, your pooch is sending you a sign.
- Escaping: When grand adventures become repeated escapes, he’s probably tediously bored.
- Barking: The most common culprit of bored dogs, barking, howling or whining which is never great for him, or the neighbours.
- Destructive chewing: Dogs are naturally built for chewing, but a well-trained and stimulated pooch will sink his teeth into his own toys – not your belongings.
The right boredom busters will keep your dog entertained, regardless of what the weather throws at you. What is your four-legged friend’s favourite activity? Leave your comments below.