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5 Signs Your Dog Is Bored And How To Overcome It

| Published on August 29, 2017

Dogs may not be able to use words to get their point across, but they’re always communicating. If you know a little about their body language and behaviors, you’ll realize that your pup’s message is loud and clear!

When our companions are bored, they tend to drop some not-so-subtle hints, although it can manifest itself in many ways. Remember that no matter what behavior your dog is exhibiting, some extra physical and mental stimulation should help cure the spell. But certain tendencies may be better remedied with one plan of action versus another (for instance, offering your pup a puzzle toy versus a 15-minute walk).

If your dog starts acting unusual in any way, you should always consult with your vet first. But if he gets a clean bill of health, consider whether he’s displaying one of these signs of boredom – then help him beat it!

The purchase of each of the toys below also provides a toy to a shelter cat in need through Project Play

Sign #1: Destructive behavior

Does your pooch chew, shred, dig, and get into things, even if you’re home? This could be a sign that he has too much pent-up energy that needs to be released! If he decides to gnaw on everything while you’re gone, boredom could still be the culprit – or maybe it’s a case of separation anxiety.

How to beat it:

You need to help your dog stay occupied, otherwise, he’ll keep himself busy (and not in a good way). Spend time every day playing with your pup or taking walks together. (If you can do this at least twice a day, even better!)

If he’s digging in the yard or “stealing” your stuff and running around the house, a long, brisk walk or jog will help expel some extra energy. If he seems to have an affinity for chewing and destroying, consider investing in beneficial chew toysdigestible chew sticks, or all-natural bully sticks that’ll keep his jaws busy when you’re too busy to play. He may also enjoy a fun pull-apart toy that can be dismembered and then put back together.

Sign #2: Tail chasing

If your dog has been chasing his behind in endless circles, chances are, he needs something else to keep him occupied. Once medical issues have been ruled out (especially if the behavior borders on obsessive), it’s safe to assume that your pup is just bored.

How to beat it:

Play stimulating games with your pup or work on training techniques in order to prompt mental stimulation. When you’re not able to give Fido your full attention, toss him a puzzle toy, like a treat dispensing ball. He’ll be happily challenged, enjoy a few treats, and stay busy while playing his one-dog game. (Just remember that it’s never a replacement for one-on-one time with you!)

Sign #3: Demanding your attention

Whether your pup sticks her nose in your face or starts barking incessantly at virtually nothing, she certainly knows how to get her way… she’s got your attention, right? Again, once medical issues are ruled out, this behavior is indicative that your pooch is desperate for something to do.

How to beat it:

Since giving in to this behavior rewards it, try preventing it, instead. If you can, pull out the leash and take your dog for a long walk in the morning to stave off cabin fever during the day. Hopefully, she’ll be fatigued enough to want to lie down rather than annoy you with her persistence! And be sure to give her some extra attention when you can, because that’s probably what she wants the most.

Sign #4: Listlessness

First and foremost, dramatic changes in energy level should always prompt a vet visit. But if everything checks out, your dog’s depressed, lazy behavior may mean that he’s bored and has given up on the hope of having fun.

How to beat it:

No dog should feel this way! If yours has begun to mope around more than usual, it’s time to switch things up and go on an adventure! A trip to a dog-friendly beach, park, or hiking trail should shake her out of her rut. Even a simple car ride can provide the change of scenery she needs. Just make sure she travels in safety! Some good items to consider for the trip include a dog safety belt for the car ride, a portable water dish and a pet first aid kit.

Stave off future boredom spells with one or two daily walks or play sessions, even if they’re only 10-15 minutes each. And keep in mind that the occasional outing can be good for everyone!

Sign #5: Excessive licking or chewing

Has your dog begun gnawing, chewing, or licking herself (or you) more often then usual? Again, consult your vet first and foremost. But given a clean bill of health, she may be over-grooming as a way to keep herself busy.

How to beat it:

Think of alternative ways to keep your dog’s mouth, paws, and brain busy. Perhaps a rousing game of fetch with a funky ball or a treat-filled training session will do the trick. She may also love an exciting new toy to play with or a yummy bully stick to gnaw on once game time is over.


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