Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Do Dogs Get Bored?

I think that they do.  I try to alleviate boredom in my dogs, by exercising both their bodies and minds.  Unfortunately, destruction as a result of boredom does occur on occasion.  My dogs also demonstrate boredom by being extra vocal (vocalizations are their way of expressing many emotions), and appearing "blah" for lack of a better description.

My friends are former neighbors were recently lamenting that their dogs seemed bored.  They have a big, beautiful, fenced yard, and also like to take their dogs other places.  They asked if they could bring their dogs to my house to play in the creek that runs through our property, and I happily obliged.

They brought their two Golden Retrievers over, and they had a grand time, swimming, running, splashing, and jumping.  They left my house utterly exhausted.

Handsome boy.
We had gotten a brief, yet heavy, downpour the morning that they came over, so the water was a little brown, and higher than normal, but they didn't care.

Pretty girl.
In my county, there is no leash law if a dog is on private property.  Unlike my dogs, these two have good recall and are trustworthy off leash.

Happy pups.
I feel that the change of scenery, water, and opportunity to run around off leash was a welcome change for them both, and my friends expressed the same thoughts.

As mentioned, my dogs can be destructive if they are bored.  I am always trying to come up with new ways to keep them entertained.

Preventing Boredom in Dogs

While we have a large, fenced play yard, I feel that walks, both on and off our property, are necessary.  The dogs enjoy the change of scenery and smells, and I do as well.

I frequently let them swim, on long leashes, in both our pond and creek.  Neeko and Faolan particularly enjoy this.

Toy rotation.  This is a big one.  We have a few tried and true toys that hold up to my dogs.  I will remove some toys for a week or two, then reintroduce them, while removing other toys.  It is like they have been presented with a brand new toy.

Car rides.  As often as I can, weather and errands permitting, I will take Neeko and Faolan places with me.  Neeko likes the ride, and they both enjoy going into dog-friendly establishments. 

Training.  If it is just too hot out, and none of us want to leave the comfort of AC for too long, we do training inside.  I always use treats, and sometimes just do repetitions of what they already know.  Sit, down, wait, watch me, bang, shake, touch, etc.  If I am feeling real froggy, I will work on new behaviors.  Neeko is currently the only one who knows "bang" so I am trying to teach it to both boys.

In my house, we like to say "A tired dog is a good dog" and "Tired dogs don't get in trouble."  I do my best to keep my dogs physically and mentally worked, for both their well-being, and to circumvent bad behaviors.

Any additional suggestions on preventing boredom in dogs?


  1. Brushing and playing find the squirrel/chipmunk. I make noises in and on the sheds while the dogs run around them trying to find the critter! It's pretty funny when they are really in the mood to play or if there was/is a critter that was close by.

    Good list! We do all of those too.

  2. Food puzzles! I don't really rotate toys, but I do keep 3-5 that are kept put away except during play with me. These are the obnoxious ones with loud squeakers that are great to tug with and fetch. Both Nola and Pike are really intelligent and really high energy dogs, and when they get bored they get naughty. We don't have many places to walk here, but I think that if you actually come out in your yard and interact with your dogs, rather than just turning them loose to "do whatever" is a huge help.

  3. We think both suggestions above are good ones. The puzzles are great and there is nothing like a good critter chase. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Great post! So many people don't think about stimulating their dogs.

    We like to play games by hiding treats. Honey finds them in the house so quickly, we've moved outdoors. The shifting breezes make it really tough.

    We have a nice creek and waterfall a few clocks from my house. I wish Honey would learn from your neighbor's dogs to have fun in the water. I know that would tire her out.

  5. Loved this post!
    My huskies cannot be trusted off leash either, so when I take them swimming, if it is not fenced in, they are on a long lead. I think dogs definitely get bored. And changing things up helps for sure.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  6. Oh we liked all the ideas. We also get bored and play bitey face wayyyy to long and it gets crazy then, or we start little fights. Mom has found if hers can take us out to the fairgrounds for a little fun around we get tired and more happy, just like you said. We are gonna try the toys rotation wesa never thought of that. Great article. oh and mom just loves those goldens, hers is always looking all over for a senior golden that some owner doesn't want anymore....dad rolls his eyes when she brings it up.
    stella rose

  7. I'm so jealous of your personal creek! Rita doesn't like to swim (she'll do it... but she doesn't like it) but she does love to get wet. We do most of those things, often going for rides (she accompanies on most errands except in the heat of summer), and a long walk every day. We sometimes drive to a different 'hood so she can see/smell different things on our walk. Luckily she's pretty calm, so it's not too hard to keep her entertained! We're lucky her boredom never turns into destruction!

  8. We definitely believe in the "A tired dog is a good dog" theory here - or at least Mom does. ;) Now that it's HOT out, we go on early morning walks (0530 walk, cool down, breakfast, wait, then another walk), then it's trips to the yard and indoor games. To us, they're games, but apparently it's following Mom's orders (sit, down, wait) then a treat (cookie or toy). We also play fetch inside (I do ... Cammie doesn't fetch) and we do other fun, active things. I'm learning to put my paws on whatever Mom tells me to: a step, a stool, a bench. It's fun and I get a treat! It came in handy at the vet's! I do through a LOT of toys - do you have any recommendations for a voracious chewer?
    Yours sincerely,
    Margaret Thatcher

  9. My dogs definitely suffer from boredom even more so in the summer. Winter is never too cold to go out (even at zero!) but summer definitely gets too hot/humid starting somewhere in the 70's for my two. We play a lot of indoor fetch, hide and seek, a good long lasting chew. Wilson will just sleep through it if need be, but Jimmy will get a bit uppity. Neither one is destructive though, so that is good.

  10. Thanks for the list! QQ tends to get bored easily. He isn't destructive per se, but he gives me sad eyes and sulks in a corner when he doesn't get enough activity. We do hiking on weekends, and I'm also trying out K9 nosework for rainy days. He also loves cat toys that necessitate tons of jumping and running around.

  11. I agree that dogs get bored. I use many of the same cures as you do. The one other one is stuffed frozen kongs that take a while for them to eat. You are such a savvy dog person that I bet you already do this one.

  12. Great tips. I guess the only thing I can think of to add would be to sign up for some sort of training class or an agility class. Or even a dog walking group. Just something that adds a change of pace and gets them out socializing and thinking.

  13. They definitely get bored...especially the younger ones. Luke has taken to sitting on the couch and whining at times, and I'm pretty sure that's what he's trying to tell us! I am trying to do more different things with them, car rides, walks, swims, different yard games, and I think it all helps. Luke gets so excited when we get a new toy, so I may try rotating them like you do as well. You're so lucky to have water on your property, our golden Sheba would be in heaven!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  14. Our dogs definitely get bored. Although we do the same thing daily and they love it (fetch with flyers and balls). But each weekend, we try and take them someplace new or do something different. Living on land allows us to take the play time to another part of the property and they all perk up. It's fun to see. When we go out, I have to have J with us, because it's 4 dogs. But they love it.


Thanks for the howls!!