How to Occupy a Bored Dog

by Michelle Ullman
    A bored dog can get into trouble.

    A bored dog can get into trouble.

    Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    Boredom is one of the most common reasons dogs misbehave. A dog left alone with nothing to do is likely to entertain himself with destructive behaviors, like digging and chewing, or annoying behaviors like barking. Keeping your canine friend active and entertained during his waking hours cuts down on boredom and helps keep him out of trouble.

    Keep your pooch entertained and busy with safe dog toys. Just like children, dogs like to play, and many enjoy balls, plush toys, tug-of-war ropes and squeaky toys of every variety. Keep a selection of toys on hand, but rotate them every few days so Fido doesn't get bored of the same squeaky duck or rubber ball. Give your dog a treat-dispensing ball or a hard plastic bone stuffed with peanut butter, and he'll enjoy working for his reward.

    Even a couch potato canine needs daily exercise, and some breeds, especially those bred for herding or hunting, need to be thoroughly tired out each day. An energetic dog with no outlet for that energy can become bored and destructive. Get your own exercise along with Fido on a long walk each evening, or take him to the local dog park for a vigorous session of off-leash play. Thrill a fetch-obsessed dog with daily game time, or indulge your pooch in a tug-of-war contest. Not only will you keep Fido mentally and physically stimulated, you'll strengthen the bond between you.

    For most dogs, time spent with their family is the best time of all. Whenever possible, take Fido along with you while doing errands, riding in the car or visiting friends. One-on-one time each day will help keep Fido stimulated and prevent loneliness and boredom that can lead to excessive barking and other undesirable behaviors. Teach him some tricks or enroll him in a dog agility or obedience class. Let Fido lie near you while watching TV or hang out in the backyard while you garden. Talk to him while you do housework or fold laundry. You are the center of Fido's world. Give him daily attention so he feels content and secure.

    Some dogs seem to appreciate hearing the radio or TV while their owners are gone. Open the back curtains so he can gaze out into the backyard. If it's safe, a doggy door lets Fido get a breath of fresh air and change of scenery whenever he feels the need. A second pet, whether a friendly feline or another dog, is a solution for some bored dogs, but only if you know Fido is not overly jealous or aggressive towards other animals. If you work long hours while your dog is home alone, a daily visit from a pet walker can break up the monotony and provide lots of stimulation. Some owners even put their pets in doggy daycare during the day for the ultimate in playtime fun.

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    About the Author

    Living in California, Michelle Ullman is a professional writer with particular expertise in home, garden and pet/nature topics. Her work is published on many websites. She loves crafts and has a deep interest in design and DIY projects.

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