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Preventing Boredom in Dogs

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Dog Boredom Have you ever noticed how you can walk with your dog for hours, without him even showing any signs of getting tired, yet when you involve the dog in 10-20 minutes of obedience training, he flops in his bed exhausted?

This is because you have made the dog think and work his brain which tires him more than when he is trotting along beside you or even when he is racing around a field.

Some dog owners complain of their dog’s destructive behaviour, when often this is down to plain boredom. If you do not keep your dog's mind stimulated he will find activities to amuse himself. To challenge your dog’s brain he needs to play games which demand his mental processes to work to their maximum ability in order to win the game and earn the reward. Play catch and bring, teach him a new trick, play hide and seek with his toys etcetera. All of these activities will mentally stimulate him which in turn will mean that once the game is over, he will be far more relaxed and calm, and of course tired. This is especially important with puppies and for owners who intend to leave their dog at home when they go to work.

There are many toys available that have been specifically designed to keep the dog's mind working. Buster cubes, a Kong, or a play ball can release a small treat when rolled around. These toys have the advantage of amusing your dog for long periods and are great if the dog is to be left on his own while you are out at work.

A working dog is a happy dog. Teach him to fetch your newspaper, TV control, or slippers. Throw a ball for him when you are out walking. Dogs especially love catching Frisbees, an exercise that will tire them physically and mentally so long as you make it more demanding than just chasing the frisbee, bring it back and laying in a down stay for example before being allowed to chase it again.

Join an obedience class. Not only will your dog benefit from learning to obey you, the training will increase the bond you have with your pet. Obedience training requires your dog to think about what he is doing. He will soon realise that the correct action brings rewards. The training instils a sense of responsibility in the dog. A training class also gives your dog the opportunity to meet other dogs allowing him to interact. It will help you to learn many new ideas and ways to constantly challenge your dog's intelligence, and thus bring about his tiredness and doggie satisfaction at having his instincts and brain cells worked to the full!

Dog Agility classes provide a superb outlet for your dog’s energy. The dog has to follow your instructions while performing. They develop their jumping, and balancing skills by going through tunnels, climbing dog walks, and jumping over obstacles. It is great fun for both of you and can become quite addictive. Owners travel miles to compete in Agility shows, and the competition is fierce. You can make your own agility course at home by erecting a few jumps, using a child’s toy tunnel, and making a table (carpeted) for the dog to jump on. With a little imagination, you can create a perfect outlet for your dog’s enjoyment. Do make sure that any obstacles are safe and firmly secured.

Dogs have been bred to work for man. They have retained all the instincts and drives of their ancestors, which need to be used. Some dogs have more working instincts than others. The herding dogs have retained strong instincts to herd and their physical proportions mean they can twist and turn with ease. Border Collies generally lead the way in canine sports, due to their incredible speed and agility but many other breeds and especially the smaller dog breeds benefit from agility classes. By keeping your dog’s mind stimulated, you will have a healthy and happy pet dog, who is more obedient and less troublesome or hyperactive at home.

Give your dog an outlet for his energy and he will wait for that outlet before releasing it, if you don't give your dog this outlet (and remain in control of it) then your dog has no choice but to find other ways to release the pent up energy, and this can often result in behaviour problems around the home.

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