It’s true what they say, dogs really are man’s best friend. They provide us with so much fun, companionship and love. All dog lovers know how important it is to do the same for them to keep them happy and healthy.
As much as we love our dogs and wish we could spend all day snuggling with them, we also have responsibilities away from home. While we’re at work, school or out and about, our dogs are often at home alone for many hours. Without proper preparation, dogs become bored. This can lead to many behavioural problems such as excessive barking, digging and destructive behaviour. Boredom can also contribute to more serious problems, such as separation anxiety and obsessive, compulsive behaviours.
Responsibilities such as work and school are unavoidable, but we always need to remember our responsibilities as dog owners. Providing our dogs with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation is so important so they don’t get bored and frustrated.
Some things to consider
What breed of dog is suitable for your family? If you are away from home for many hours a day, a very active dog may not be the best fit. Doing lots of breed research can be a great way to find out a dogs exercise requirements and how they will fit into your home.Click to read our Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer's Guide.
Having more than one pet can help, they will keep each other company and be playmates. However, it’s important to remember that adding another dog won’t cure boredom on its own – training and stimulation are always key.
Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Ideas for entertaining your dog are limitless!
-A walk before and after you go to work
-Things for them to do while you’re out - interactive toys, a wading pool, a sand pit (with hidden toys or treats) for digging, a treasure hunt (hide food treats around the backyard)
-Play dates with other dogs
-Arranging for a friend or neighbour to walk them during the dayClick to read 7 reasons why dog toys are important
Make the most of your time with your dog when you are at home, include your dog in your family life and provide the companionship they need. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and it’s often underrated how much they need to feel included. Allowing your dog to come inside with you can go a long way towards lessening their boredom and making them feel included.
There are many ways to entertain and stimulate your dog, even when you’re not at home. If we fulfill their needs for exercise and mental stimulation, your dog will be a happier member of your family with less likelihood of behavioural issues developing.
If you are concerned your dog is displaying behaviours related to boredom and need further advice, it's best to make an appointment with your regular vet or seek assistance from an RSPCA Victoria Vet Clinic.
RSPCA Victoria has private vet clinics located at our Burwood East and Peninsula animal care centres. You can contact our veterinary staff for advice or to make an appointment on 9224 2222.