Can Dogs Feel Boredom? What Should We Do To Help Them?

You know the feeling when you are sitting down, perhaps watching TV, or working on the computer, but suddenly your dog starts running around the room. Imagine coming home after a long day at work and seeing all the garbage in your apartment, complete with your dog.

These activities can be annoying, strange, or entertaining, but they could be signs your furball is bored. Dogs need stimulation, just as humans. Think of your pet as a child. Can you imagine a toddler sitting inside all day, with only a few outside breaks to pee??

The same goes for your dog! Your fur-child will find another, a more fun, place to play if you aren’t home. Dogs, just like humans, can get bored. There are some things we can do, just as humans, to keep our dogs happy and healthy.

Signs Your Dog May Be Bored

It’s easy to picture your dog as a toddler. Your dog’s signs of boredom are the same as a child’s: attention-seeking behavior, destructive behaviors, and pestering you. We will discuss the signs so that you can determine if your dog requires more stimulation (mental or physical) and what you can do to help it.

Attention-Seeking Behaviors – Back to toddlers. Let’s face the facts, a bored child is just going to be annoying. The same goes for your dog! Dogs who are bored will do whatever they can to get you to pay attention if you’re not there. This behavior can be barking or whining, especially when they are staring at your face. It almost seems like they’re asking for something. They may also be very vocal to let you know they are there.

Destructive Behaviors: This is a common problem if you’re not home to watch your dog. A bored dog can be destructive. These destructive behaviors can be inwardly focused, such as chewing on their own skin, picking at scabs, or incessant scratching. Or they can turn outwardly, such as digging in the trash, digging in furniture, and chewing shoes. These activities can be difficult to clean up, but at the moment it seems like your dog’s only option to get rid of boredom.

Pestering: Cue “Velcro-Dog Syndrome”. This behavior is similar to the attention-seeking behaviors that we discussed earlier, but it will only occur if you are home. Boredom can lead dogs to follow their owners everywhere, even if they are not home. Remember that we are our dogs’ best friends and their main source of entertainment. They know they have fun when they are bored, so they follow us around. However, it is important to understand that not all dogs follow you around out of boredom. Some dogs are super attached to their owners. To distinguish between them, you need to know the normal behavior of your dog.

Boredom in Dogs: The History

Dogs have evolved from wolves – animals who are constantly on the move and are always with their pack-mates. Studies show that “long ago, dogs had much more to think about. They had to work out how they were going to eat, which is a huge task,” as well as many other things they had to do to survive in the wild.

Many breeds of dogs were used to retrieve, herd, or guard animals, even after they were domesticated. Although they have had many centuries to become the gentle, loving little men they are today, they still retain many of their ancestors’ characteristics.

Many of our dogs are able to interact with other dogs and run around “hunting” as well as other dogs. Our perfect pups can get bored easily, especially when we aren’t there to entertain them. They weren’t made for the laid-back lifestyles they live now. Therefore, they need stimulation to keep them active.

Boredom in Dogs: The Science Behind It

As our dogs evolved from wolves into the pups we know and love today, breeds developed that were specifically tailored to perform certain duties and activities.

Golden Retrievers, for example, were designed to retrieve. German Shepherds were designed to guard, while Beagles were made for hunting. Many dogs need the stimulation that is specific to their breed. Boredom can be alleviated by your dog’s genetics. Different dog breeds have different psychological needs.

Research has shown that some dogs will be less active while others will be more hyperactive when they are experiencing excitement. This is all down to their genetic makeup. It pays to be aware of the breed of your dog! You can keep your dog entertained more easily if you have the right information.

Training for bored puppies

You’ll be happy to hear that training a dog not to be so bored is actually pretty easy. All it really involves is figuring out how to provide more stimuli to your pooch.

You’ll need to be honest about your time. Do you spend too much time with your dog? You might try to adjust things so that you can visit during the day. Or, hire a dog-walker to ensure your pet gets outside time.

Next, take a look at the place where your dog spends his alone time. Crate training may be an option to stop destructive behavior. Crate training is not recommended for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Be aware of any prized possessions and potentially dangerous objects.

Ask your local pet shop about safe chew toys and puzzle toys. To encourage positive associations between your visit and the dog’s return, make sure they get a treat every time you go out.