Having a dog doesn’t mean you only have to feed him twice a day, and then he’ll be fine. As a responsible pet owner, you should also make sure that his mental health is well taken care of.
Does your dog chew furniture, whines, barks excessively, and shows no interest?
Chances are, your pooch may be suffering from boredom. When a dog does not have enough interaction, he can suffer from various mental health issues including:
- Destructive behavior
- Fear or anxiety
- Lack of interest
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior
As animals like dogs originally thrived in packs, dogs long for companionship and interaction. But because of the lack of mental and physical activity, your dog will find other means to entertain himself.
Prevent your canine from misbehaving and consider doing the following to help him beat boredom and stimulate his mind:
1. Give new toys
If it were you, would you play with the same toy every day? Then, don’t expect your dog to continue playing with the same worn-out toy that he’s had for years.
Give your pooch various interesting dog toys but don’t hand them over all at once. Give one toy for your dog to play with for a few days, then once he gets bored of the current new toy, replace it with another one.
You don’t need to spend endlessly on toys, just rotate and switch them around from time to time to keep your dog interested.
2. Introduce new faces
Each time your dog meets a new person or a fellow animal, he’ll be subjected to new sounds, sights, and smells.
Even something as simple as introducing your dog to the vet during his pet vaccinations is a good opportunity to engage his canine senses. You can also take your dog to the park or on a car ride where he can get enough exercise and interaction with other pets and people passing by.
3. Play games
Engage your dog through games such as Frisbee or Flyball. These fun and physical games will make your dog the happiest while also fulfilling his need for exercise.
Take your dog for a long walk, swim, or hike – the goal is to let him have fun outdoors.
4. Teach tricks
A training session provides a mental challenge for your dog.
Search for new tricks that your dog can work on to move past basic commands. Challenging your dog mentally will make him more relaxed and less anxious.
5. Enroll him in dog classes or daycare
A dog class comprises great activities that are good for both your dog’s physical and mental health.
The great thing about a dog class or daycare is that you can ensure that your pooch will be safe. Even if you can’t be with your dog, he will be looked after while also getting all the attention, playtime, and socialization he needs in the company of other dogs.
Going once a week is a good alternative to add variety to your dog’s daily activities.
6. Allow chewing time
Chewing does not only keep your dog’s teeth and jaws strong and clean but also provides stimulation to relieve any anxieties. Whether it’s a puppy or an adult canine, it’s important that you allow for chewing time through food items like natural marrow bones or livestock animal ears.
Chewing behavior is normal in dogs, however, canines may sometimes chew on things you don’t want them to. Give your dog food items to chew on to prevent him from gnawing and damaging your things.
7. Get a reliable dog walker
If you’re unable to allocate spare time to walk your dog in the park, that shouldn’t mean your pooch can’t get the stimulating fresh air he deserves. Hire a reliable dog walker to collect your dog and take him out for a walk on your behalf. This is a much affordable option compared to dog classes or daycare.
Keep your pooch stimulated and happy
Just like humans, dogs can get bored with the same old routine.
Keep your pooch mentally challenged by exposing him regularly to new things. Don’t wait for your dog to develop destructive behavior, and let him have his share of fun through a combination of the seven activities above.
When your dog misbehaves, don’t blame it on him and ask yourself what you’ve done to stimulate his mind and keep him happy.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.