Dog enrichment ideas for overcoming boredom

May 21, 2024

Dog boredom can be a bigger problem than you might think. Unless your dog is a working breed, it is inevitable they’ll spend some time alone. The same toys and routine can sometimes cause your dog to become bored too. To help you provide more enrichment opportunities and conquer canine cabin fever, Rachel at Nurture has pulled together some practical ideas for you below.

If you are concerned about your dog’s behaviour and wellbeing, connect with us and book a check-up with our vets in Wells or Weston right away.

Book a dog behaviour and wellness check

How to tell if your dog is bored

Our Vet Rachel, explains that dog boredom can quickly turn into problematic behaviours. It can also cause your dog to become anxious and stressed, affecting their happiness and wellbeing.

If your dog is acting differently but doesn’t seem unwell, they might not be getting the stimulation they need. Rachel advises you to keep an eye out for these bored behaviours:

  • Chewing
  • Restlessness
  • Sighing
  • Constantly seeking attention/pining
  • Engaging in destructive behaviour
  • Following you around with a toy when you are home
  • Barking excessively
  • Chasing their tail
  • Digging

Your dog could also be anxious if they are:

  • Barking and howling whilst you are out – neighbours will often tell you
  • Chewing household objects or generally making a mess
  • Toileting inside
  • Panting, shaking and restless

Book a behaviour and wellness check at Nurture if your dog’s behaviour is worrying you.

Read more about how we help owners care for their dogs at Nurture.

How to overcome dog boredom

The good news is that overcoming dog boredom is possible. Here are some practical ideas from our dog-loving team at Nurture:

  1. Exciting Adventures: Shake things up by adding new or longer walks to your dog’s routine. Try using obstacles you find on-route, such as trees to weave around and benches (or low curbs for dachshunds and other small dogs) to jump on. Not only will your dog burn off that excess energy, but you’ll also uncover exciting new places to explore together in and around Somerset.
  2. Playful Learning: Playtime isn’t just about having a blast; it’s also a fantastic way to help your dog learn new skills and channel their inner predator in a positive direction. Try hide & seek with toys or treats, puzzle toys and teaching your dog new commands and tricks.
  3. Dog Agility Classes: You never know, your dog might be the next star of Britain’s Got Talent for their outstanding dog agility skills…or they might just have the best time whilst exercising and learning this new activity.
  4. Puppy Preschool & Dog Training: Who says learning can’t be fun? Rachel suggests enrolling your pup in a puppy preschool or a structured class where they can learn obedience, communication, and socialisation skills. Owners can brush up on their skills too!
  5. Buddy System – The More, The Merrier: If you’re a one-dog household, why not arrange playdates with your friends’ dogs? Your dog will gain essential social skills and it will be tail-wagging fun for everyone involved! Plus, your dog will have less time to be alone and bored.
  6. Hangouts With You: With an abundance of dog-friendly cafes, shops and other establishments in Somerset, there are plenty of places you and your dog can hang out together, reducing the amount of time they are alone. Top tip: garden centres and pet shops have all the smells your dog will love!

Remember, dogs need rest too, especially the young and old. How much exercise and mind-stimulation your dog needs will depend on their breed, age, health condition, and their individual personality.

If your dog is showing signs of stress and anxiety, or you have any concerns, talk to our team at Nurture and book an appointment at Wells or Weston to ensure nothing else is going on. You may need to enlist the help of a professional behaviourist, and our team are here to help every step of the way.

Book a dog behaviour and wellness check

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