Do Dogs Get Bored – Every individual, be it a man or an animal, has some basic needs that are essential for his survival and wellbeing. These needs are arranged in a hierarchy. The fulfillment of one need automatically creates the requirement for the fulfilment of the need at the next level. Dogs are no exception to this need hierarchy. They too have a sequence of needs starting from their physiological need of food, shelter and safety to their recreational and self-realization needs. Non fulfillment of any such needs may create a void in their lives making them sulk and which we call in ordinary language as boredom. Dogs have remained human companions for so long that any lack of physical or mental stimulation may lead them to boredom. A dog keeper must understand well that dogs completely depend on their owner for the fulfillment of all their needs. The owner dictates the norms and the dogs have not much choice but to follow the routine such as what to eat, when to go out for a walk, which game to play and when to sleep etc. So, if there is any lapse on the part of the owner, it may push a dog into a dreary routine life in which there is not much spice.
How do you know that your dog is bored?
Dogs differ in breed, age and outlook. Their requirements also differ accordingly. Dogs show remarkable change in their behavior pattern and issue clear signals that indicate their boredom. The owner must be vigilant about such signs so as to get an early warning signal and take corrective measures to prevent any further complications.
Following are some signs indicating an onset of boredom in dogs: –
- A bored dog is found to indulge in an abnormal destructive behavior such as barking loudly and frequently, digging at the lawn and chewing things such as shoes, bags, etc. In some extreme cases they may also be found tearing pillows, mattresses and toilet papers. If you return home from work to find the entire house in a mess, you must accept the hard fact that your dog’s boredom has reached to the level of frustration.
- A bored dog tries to get engaged in attention seeking acts which could be whining or treating the guests in an unfriendly manner.
- Yet another way in which a dog may release pressure is by finding ways to amuse himself which could be even at the cost of your valuable furniture and decorative items in home.
- A bored dog tries to follow his master at all places. It seems as if he is asking his owner, “Have you forgotten about my requirements?”
- In extreme cases a dog can display anxiety feelings. There could be puzzled expressions on his face. He might even refuse to eat his favorite dish or play a favorite game.
An empty mind is a devil’s workshop. The saying befittingly explains a bored dog’s shift in behavior. He may discover new ways to pacify his troubled mind. He might engage into activities that may be quite risky and even put his life into danger. Feeling ignored he might develop habits that may not be good for his physical and mental health. If timely action is not taken to relieve dogs of their boredom, it may result in the development of various other behavioral issues such as: –
- The dog may develop traits of depression.
- Prolonged depression might trigger suicidal tendencies in which a dog might refuse to eat permanently.
- A dog might become lack luster, lethargic and gloomy.
- He might display tired and bucked up attitude.
- In extreme cases the dog may adopt violent attitude in which he may get indulged in sudden outbursts of aggressive behavior.
Removal of Dogs Boredom
Different strokes for different folks. The dog owners must go by the saying while dealing with the dog. There can’t be any standard set of rules to remove boredom of all varieties of dogs. Dogs differ in their breed and temperament. They are raised to serve different purposes. Hence, for each breed of dog a special tailor-made solution needs to be sought to keep them agile and cheerful. Following tips may prove beneficial in this context: –
- A dog needs a set routine. Give him a routine that may keep him occupied most of the time. The routine must be established carefully after taking into consideration his likes, breed, caliber and nature. The routine must be evaluated after regular intervals and changed from time to time so as to avoid any lack of interest.
- The routine must include some physical exercise, walk, game etc. that offers an opportunity to the dog to burn extra energy and relieve himself. The game must involve physical exertion and long duration to keep him engaged.
- A dog must be given a job suiting his interest and expertise. The dog must feel that he too counts in the family. He must experience the dignity of earning his keep by engaging in a productive activity. Different breeds are specialized for different tasks such as guarding the house or herd of cattle, herding the livestock, pulling carts, acting as a search and rescue dog etc. The owner must select the job accordingly
- The owner must devote some time for the dog’s recreation. The games must be physically and mentally engaging. The owner may take help of a pet sitter or a dog trainer to give company to a dog on a regular or drop-in basis. They may devise dedicated games such as hide and seek, search the food, lost and found etc. A dog loves such exciting games and tricks.
- The owner must give special attention to socializing needs of a dog. It’s through socializing that he gets to be in touch with new places, people and animals. His circumference of the world increases. He learns new ways and wisdom. This adds thrill and spice to his life. Depending on the circumstances the owner may take initiatives to arrange for regular visits to a dog park, a dog saloon, dog clinics for vaccination or neighborhood dog meet etc. If possible, an enclosed space may be dedicated to all the dogs in the vicinity where they all could spend some time together in the company of friendly dogs.
In most of the cases, a dog owner and his family are capable to bring a dog out of his mood swings by suitable adjustments in his routine. However, in extreme cases where the dog is not found to respond to the changes, it is imperative to consult a dog trainer, a breeder or a veterinary expert.