Our Top Tips For Keeping Dogs Busy

dog jumping

Is your dog’s behavior less than desirable? If you’ve been struggling with a dog who is barking excessively, digging in the yard or garbage can, ripping up shoes or other household items, or being extra clingy, you may have a bored pup on your hands.

Keeping dogs busy is the key to reducing behavioral problems, not to mention making your dog much more content and comfortable. Fortunately, we have plenty of ideas to get you started!

Why Is My Dog Bored?

Originally, dogs were bred to have specific jobs, whether that was herding sheep or cows, hunting, guarding, and even being a companion animal. These days, the vast majority of dogs don’t have a job to do, and many are left to their own devices all day while the family is at work. 

Boredom in dogs can take many forms, from destructive behavior, to anxiety, to clinginess, and even depression. 

Keeping Dogs Busy

Most of us aren’t likely to be keeping dogs busy herding sheep or hunting rats in the barn, but there are still plenty of fun ways to keep your pet challenged and engaged.

Exercise – There’s no underestimating the power of exercise when it comes to alleviating boredom and reducing behavior problems – a tired dog is a happy dog, after all! The daily walk is the foundation of doggy exercise (enlist the help of a dog walker or trusted friend if you are regularly gone all day), but don’t forget to include fetch or other fun and active games as well. 

Mental stimulation – Sometimes, keeping dogs busy is as simple as providing them with a challenge. Interactive games, such as hide and seek (where you hide and your dog has to find you) or hiding bits of kibble around for them to find will stimulate their natural hunting and seeking instincts. Food puzzles are fun too, especially when you make them yourself. And don’t forget about toys – find the style your pet likes and rotate them frequently to keep things interesting.

Training – Training is an excellent way to provide enrichment, not to mention reinforce polite behavior. Refreshing your dog’s basic obedience skills is never a bad idea, and from there you can move on to trick training. Agility courses, whether homemade or professional, combine exercise with mental stimulation.

We would love to hear all about your ideas for keeping dogs busy! Post to our social media page, or let us know the next time your pet is in for a wellness exam. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact your Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital veterinarian with your questions or concerns about your pets.