When was the last time you really got bored? We are not talking about just a few minutes of not having something to do or someone to speak with, but a prolonged time of no stimulation. It must have been nerve-wracking. Chances are, you did (or at least thought about doing) something impulsive or risky.
If that could happen to you, how about your furry buddy?
Animals also get bored and could resort to impulsive or risky behavior, just like you. When a dog is in a non-stimulating environment, it could turn to destructive behavior and can harm itself.
In this article, we talk about boredom in dogs. You will learn about the symptoms of doggy boredom and how it can be dangerous. We conclude by suggesting a few tips to avoid canine boredom.
Photo Credit: Isaac Taylor/Pexels
How often do dogs get bored?
Fido is more likely to get bored faster and more frequently than you. Doggy boredom is not just mere imagination by emotional pet parents. It is a scientific fact. Recent studies indicate that animals, including farm and companion animals, frequently get bored, and it could lead to behavior problems.
Remember, do not generalize your dog’s behavior. Every dog is unique and has a different way of handling boredom. Many will show signs of depression or anxiety if they are in a less stimulated environment for long periods. They could also engage in self-stimulating behaviors like trying to escape or chew foreign objects, which could be harmful. When a dog chews a foreign object, he could swallow it, and the item could cause digestive blockages, asserts Aisling O'Keeffe, Veterinarian.
So, how can you recognize if your dog is bored?
If your dog spends hours in a non-stimulating environment when you are not around (even if he is an indoor dog), you don’t need an expert to tell you that he is bored. Of course, he is! And that could be the root of behavior issues they've had.
But perhaps you would like to eliminate some issues. If that’s you, here is a list of the most common signs of doggy boredom:
- Chewing of prohibited items.
- Digging of backyards and potted plants.
- Aggression toward other pets and strangers.
- Barking excessively
- Digging (escape attempts)
- Your dog is overly excited when they see you.
Signs like chewing and digging could get on our nerves because the dog would often invade our space and destroy valuable items. The symptoms also vary in intensity depending on the breed and age of the dog. Worker dogs (high in energy) get bored faster and could resort to worse behavior due to all the pent-up energy. In the same way, puppies may need less stimulation, but they express more pronounced symptoms of boredom.
How bored dogs can be a danger to themselves
Expressions of boredom like pacing and excited greetings might not threaten the dog's well-being (at least not yet), but such signs should spark your interest. However, if your furry buddy's way of expressing boredom is through activities like chewing, digging, and aggression, it could lead to the following dangers:
- Chewing foreign objects like jewelry, electronics, and clothing could lead to intestinal blockage. This can hurt the dog and even be fatal.
- Digging not only messes up your backyard but also puts the dog at risk of being crushed if you live close to a busy street.
- Aggression could trigger retaliatory behavior from other pets.
- Boredom could degenerate into complicated mental issues like anxiety (especially separation anxiety), depression, and obsessive and compulsive behaviors.
The TEE solution for doggy boredom
The first and most important thing you should do is appreciate that your dog needs stimulation. Don't let your furry buddy get bored to death. Once you appreciate that boredom is a problem and that it can lead to several other complications, you are halfway to solving the issue. of doggy boredom, three elements are a must:
Time - spare some time and spend it with your furry buddy. The longer it is, the better, but strive for at least two hours daily. You could be doing anything when spending time together.
Enrichment - dogs also require mental stimulation, especially smart breeds like German Shepherds. Fortunately, it is not a must to be present for enrichment activities. You could create an obstacle course, or provide food puzzles and toys with hidden rewards.
Exercise - outdoor walks or jogs (where it is safe) are the best for getting this done. Keep in mind the dog breed, worker breeds demand more intense workouts than lap dogs. As you keep fit and stretch a muscle, Fido will be doing likewise and more. All the sights, sounds, and scents will also stimulate them.
As the adage goes, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Do not let your furry buddy fall victim to this. Doggy boredom could result in destructive behavior, and it is a danger to the dog and your loved ones. Fortunately, all it takes to turn the problem around is time and effort. A tired and mentally stimulated dog is a happier and better companion.
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