Leaving your dog home alone for some of the day is something many of us do. Work commitments often make this unavoidable, but when your absence from home is introduced gradually, problems like separation anxiety are less of a problem.
That said, boredom affects a number of dogs that are routinely left alone, which can pose a huge problem for owners as they are more likely to turn to destructive and troublesome behaviours.
Lack of mental stimulation and exercise can leave a dog wondering what to do, especially highly intelligent breeds like Border Collies, Retrievers and Poodles. Historically, dogs were utilised in work of various kinds, which occupied their minds and tired their bodies, but nowadays they are first and foremost pets.
So, how do you know when your dog is bored?
- Destructive behaviours like chewing
- Restless behaviour
- Pawing for attention
If you notice any of these signs, you can safely assume your dog is bored and in need of some stimulation. But it’s not all about exercise; important stimuli for all dogs includes exposure to interesting places and things, new experiences, opportunities for learning, and the chance to interact with the environment around them.
However, the importance of physical exercise shouldn’t be forgotten. Dogs love being outdoors, not only because they get to stretch their legs, have a sniff and absorb all the goings-on around them, but because they get to spend valuable time with you.
In short, the following things can help alleviate boredom in dogs routinely home alone:
- Take your dog for a walk before you leave in the morning, and on your return at night.
- Consider sending your dog to doggy day care as this will provide the enrichment needed.
- Every so often, introduce a new toy. Interactive toys that challenge your dog, including treat dispenser toys, are great for when you’re not there to play with.
- Have the tv or a radio on in the background to fill the silence and give your dog something to focus on.
- If you’re able to, think about adopting a playmate for your dog, as the hours will fly by when there’s a friend to share them with.
If you have any advice on this discussion, feel free to share it below for our other readers :)
Written by: Hannah Dyball