Dogs are the ultimate best friends. They always seem like they’re having fun when they’re with their special pet parents. But do they really enjoy the same activities every day? Do dogs get bored with repetitive routines?
It’s a fair question because most dogs spend 8 to 10 hours entertaining themselves at home while their owners are out at work. That’s a lot of free time that could easily lead to boredom and lack of stimulation if they don’t have something else to do.
The good news is that you’re asking the right question if you want your pupper to remain happy and healthy. You can tell if your pup is bored or not with just a few simple signs and some creative solutions.
So let’s help your furry bestie have the most fun ever, whether or not you’re home with him!
In This Article:
Do Dogs Get Bored Being Home All Day?
Yes, it’s possible that your doggerino is less than entertained when he is cooped up at home all day long. Dogs are social animals, and when left to their own devices, they will usually stay connected to other canines.
This tendency developed out of a safety and survival need. Dogs used to be much more vulnerable when left alone and would benefit from the safety of being in a pack.
When your dog is home alone, it’s usually in a safe environment. But even though danger isn’t imminent, his instinct to be with the pack (you and your family in this case) can still create a feeling of restlessness and boredom.
If you’re wondering how bored your dog gets, you’ll need to look at your doggo’s environment. Do they have plenty of room to roam in the house? Is someone coming by at lunchtime for potty breaks? Does your dog have stimulating toys available at home?
Your dog’s personality, temperament, and breed also factor into the equation. That’s why it’s important to understand your pup and find the best ways to keep him engaged.
Signs That Your Dog Is Bored
Boredom can manifest in many different ways, but here are a few signs to watch out for:
1. Lethargy and Listlessness
Your pup should be full of energy, but if he’s unusually sluggish or uninterested in his surroundings, it could be a sign that he’s bored.
This is because your four-legged friend has plenty of energy stored up, but he isn’t getting any chances to use it. It’s very similar to a human who sits on the couch all day long and doesn’t use their energy, so they start to feel constantly lethargic.
The less stimulation your pup has, the more lethargic he will become.
2. Excessive Barking and Whining
If your doggie has taken to barking or making noise for no apparent reason, it can indicate boredom. They may whine at you for attention, bark at the front door, or start barking at nothing in particular.
This behavior may intensify as your pup’s boredom builds or at certain times of the day such as when you normally get home from work. If their barking is disruptive and excessive, they might be crying out for something to do.
3. Destructive Chewing
Chewing isn’t unusual, especially in puppies. But if your pup is consistently chewing on furniture or other items around the house, it could be a sign of boredom. Your dog may go after one specific item, or they may chew on something new every day to break up the monotony. This is a clear sign that your dog is understimulated.
4. Changes in Appetite
If your dog begins eating less or more than usual and doesn’t appear to be sick, then he may be feeling low. It’s not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with the food, but your dog needs something else to feel fulfilled, so he isn’t eating it joyfully as he once has.
Treats may be one solution, but it’s important to consider other forms of stimulation besides food for your bored dog too.
5. A Constant Need to Go Outside
Does your dog always paw at the door or ask to go out, even if you just let him in the backyard five minutes ago? This may be your pupper’s way of trying to entertain itself when you’re busy.
There are plenty of interesting smells and sights outside that can help keep your pup occupied with mental stimulation, which is why they’re always asking to go out.
6. Disinterest in Toys
Suddenly, all of the toys lying around the house don’t give your pup as much joy as they used to. You may toss him his favorite tug toy and he just stares at it, then walks away.
It’s not that he doesn’t like the toy anymore; he simply needs something new and stimulating to keep him interested.
7. Gnawing and Licking Themselves
If your pup is gnawing or licking at himself, it could be a sign of anxiety and boredom. Even if you don’t see the actual licking behavior, you may notice raw spots on their skin from too much grooming.
Causes of Dog Boredom
Now that you’ve identified your dog is bored by noticing one or several of the above symptoms, you may be wondering what caused this boredom to begin with. Here are some of the most common reasons why your dog’s boredom is happening in the first place:
1. Not Enough Mental Stimulation
Your pup’s brain needs stimulation, just like the rest of his body. If your dog doesn’t experience any new challenges, people, animals, or changes in routine, it’s likely that he will grow bored quickly.
2. Not Enough Physical Exercise
Even if your dog looks comfortable lying around all day, it’s still beneficial for him to move. A lack of play both inside and outside of the house can lead to an inactive lifestyle, which can be a major cause of doggo boredom and other issues.
3. Not Enough Socialization
Dogs are social creatures, just like humans. If your pup isn’t getting enough chances to interact with other people and animals, it’s likely that his boredom will start to set in.
4. Less Attention in a Multi-Pet Household
There’s definitely a pecking order when it comes to multi-pet households, and if yours is at the bottom of the list, he may start to feel less entertained. If you have another dog that always asks for all the attention, the other pets may begin to feel bored.
5. Too Much Time Alone
As dogs get older, they’re able to spend more and more time alone. But just because they can stay at home without needing a meal or a bathroom break doesn’t mean they should. Many busy owners push the boundaries of how much time is too much for their furry buddy, and that’s when boredom may start to creep in.
6. Your Doggie Needs a Job
Dogs love to have a sense of purpose. This could look like protecting their home, taking care of their owners, or even just playing around in the backyard. If your pup isn’t doing any of these things, he may start to feel bored with his day-to-day life.
7. There Isn’t Enough Physical Space
If your dog is crated all day, every day, or confined to a small space, he may start to feel frustrated and bored. Dogs need room to roam and explore, and if they don’t have enough space to do that, it can lead to boredom quickly.
What Happens If a Dog Is Always Bored?
Boredom, like other emotions and experiences, will build up over time and may express itself in negative ways. Over a long period of time, you may see some deeper shifts in your dog’s personality because of boredom.
1. They Stop Expecting To Have Fun
Eventually, your dog will expect that every experience he has, from interacting with other people to playing with toys, will be boring. Because of this, your dog may start to avoid activities that she used to love.
2. Your Dog May Become Aggressive
Some pupperinos act out when they’re bored, which could lead to aggression. If your pup is snapping at other animals or people, it may be because he’s feeling frustrated and needs an outlet.
3. Your Dog May Develop Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a common issue for dogs who are always bored. Since your dog anticipates that you’ll be gone for extended periods of time, he may become anxious and start to act out when he senses that you’re leaving. Your dog may also engage in more destructive behavior when alone to try to cope with the anxiety.
How Do I Keep My Dog Entertained While At Work?
In order to help keep your pup entertained while you’re away, there are a few things that you should do:
1. Get Interactive Toys and Puzzle Toys
Interactive toys are great for when your pup is at home alone. They can help to keep his brain active and engage his senses in interesting ways. There are tons of puzzles available on the market specifically designed to keep your pup entertained.
These toys involve hiding treats inside of them and giving your pup hints to find them. Other toys, such as Kongs filled with peanut butter or squeaky toys can be great boredom busters.
Try to keep a variety of toys around so that when your pup is bored, she can switch up her routine and grab something new to play with.
2. Increase the Frequency and Length of Walks
Regular walks are an essential part of life for any pup. Not only does it help with physical health, but mental health as well. So try to make sure you give your four-legged friend physical stimulation by taking more frequent or longer walks.
You could start by adding an extra minute or two to your dog’s walk each day, and then gradually increase the time until your pup is getting the exercise he needs.
Of course, this is good for the owner too, and you may decide that the mental and physical stimulation is helping you out as well!
If your schedule makes it difficult to take your pup for a walk, you could consider hiring a dog walker to come and give your pooch some extra exercise. Find one online or ask around in your local community to see if someone is available.
3. Socialize Your Dog
If your dog is home alone all day, it’s unlikely that she spends much time with other people or animals overall. Giving your pupper play dates with others, frequenting dog parks, and having more guests over to your home can help to reduce boredom and the destructive behaviors that come along with it.
If your dog isn’t used to being around other animals or people, start socializing him in small doses and gradually increase it from there.
Give your pup plenty of positive reinforcement when she is interacting with others and make sure she knows that it’s ok to be around them.
Eventually, your pup will start to look forward to socializing and can reduce her boredom levels by having these exciting experiences.
4. Play Games with Your Pup
It’s one thing to have plenty of toys lying around the house, but if your dog doesn’t ever have anyone to play with, dog boredom will creep in.
That’s why it’s important to take the time to engage in active play with your pup. You can start with simple shared activities such as tug of war and fetch. You can then move on to more complicated games such as hide and seek.
A game of hide and seek can be a great way to get your pup’s mind working while also providing physical exercise. It takes some practice, but you can teach your doggerino to find you when you’re hiding in the house.
These active play sessions are a great opportunity for bonding with your pup and creating an even stronger relationship.
5. Train Your Dog (Or Sign Up for Classes)
Since boredom can lead to destructive behavior, it’s important to reinforce good behavior by training your pup.
Training is a great way to keep your dog’s mind engaged and teach them useful behaviors that will help you both in the long run.
The first step when it comes to training is to get your doggie familiar with the basics. Teaching them commands such as sit, stay, and come are a great place to start.
You could also look into enrolling your dog in group classes or one-on-one sessions with a professional trainer. This way, you’ll both be able to learn together and have some fun while practicing new skills.
6. Make Mealtimes More Exciting
Mealtime is one of your dog’s favorite activities, so why not help your puppo savor this time? You can do so by using puzzle toys that dispense treats or by using different types of food bowls.
For example, you can try a slow feeder bowl, which has ridges and bumps designed to slow down the rate at which your pup eats. This helps prevent bloating and overeating, while also encouraging your doggo to think about how to get the food out of it.
7. Give Your Dog Extra Cuddles
When you do have time at home with your dog, encourage them to come to you for cuddles and love. Make sure your pup knows that he’s an important part of the family and give him plenty of attention when you can.
Getting on the floor with your pup once in a while will help him feel secure and content in his home. Don’t be afraid to invite your dog up on your lap as well, if he’s allowed on the furniture.
You can give your doggie a massage, give him treats, and talk to him in a soothing voice. All of these actions will help your pupper feel secure in his environment and reduce boredom-induced destructive behaviors.
8. Let Them Have Plenty of Opportunities to Chew
Chewing is a satisfying action for many dogs, especially for puppies. So if your pup is feeling bored, give them some chew toys or bones to keep their mind busy.
There are plenty of heavy-duty chew toys that will last your pup a long time, but make sure to get ones that are appropriate for your dog’s size and age.
For example, for puppies and small dogs, you’ll want to look for softer chew toys like rubber or Nylon bones. Harder stuff can damage their teeth. Supervise your pup when they’re chewing so that they don’t ingest the toy or pieces of it.
9. Get Support From a Professional
Understanding your dog’s needs is important, but sometimes it can be hard to know what will work best for them. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to keep your furry friend entertained and engaged, consider talking to a professional.
A certified animal behaviorist or veterinarian can help you figure out the root cause of your pup’s boredom and come up with strategies that will help keep your dog more stimulated.
10. Keep an Eye on Your Dog From Afar
Even if you have to work long shifts at the office, you can still stay connected to your dog at home. These days, there are plenty of interactive cameras that will allow you to monitor your pup from anywhere.
You can check in throughout the day, talk to your dog through two-way audio, and even give them treats remotely using an app on your phone.
This way, you can make sure that your pupperino is happy and entertained when you’re away and feel connected with them all the time.
11. Put Music or TV On for Your Pup
Some dogs enjoy the mental stimulation of having some noise in the house. Try leaving the TV on for your pup when you’re away. There are plenty of “pooch TV” channels you can find on YouTube that feature content specifically tailored for dogs.
You can also play some calming music or nature sounds, like waterfalls and ocean waves, that will help keep them relaxed and keep your dog feeling peaceful throughout the day.
12. Groom Your Doggerino
Regular grooming sessions can help keep your dog feeling relaxed and calm. Brushing out their fur, trimming their nails, and cleaning their ears can all be a therapeutic experience for your furry bestie.
Not only that, but it’s also essential to your dog’s health to make sure they’re well-groomed at all times.
Make sure that you’re not overgrooming your dog, because this may take away too many of the natural oils from their fur.
A daily brushing session with a soft brush is enough to keep your pup looking and feeling their best most of the time.
13. Take a Road Trip with Your Dog
Just like humans, our furry besties love adventure and newness. So why not plan a road trip with your pupperino? Take a day or two out of the week and plan a short getaway with your doggie.
It doesn’t have to be far—just a few hours away by car will give your dog an opportunity to experience new places, smells, and people.
You can also get more into nature by taking a camping trip with your dog. Make sure you’re prepared with the right supplies and that your pup is comfortable in the car.
14. Make Your Dog a Digging Box
Digging is one of the destructive behaviors your pup uses to reduce dog boredom, so why not make him a designated zone where he can do it safely and without ruining your yard?
Fill a box with sand and add some of your pup’s favorite toys or bones.
15. Open the Window Shades for Your Furry Bestie
A room without a view is a recipe for boredom. Go ahead and open the window shades to let some natural light into your pup’s room.
This will give him a better view of the outside world, which can provide some mental stimulation and help keep boredom at bay. Your dog loves to watch birds, people, and other animals in their environment—allowing them to do that can help keep them entertained.
16. Set Up a Dog Agility Course
Challenging your pup’s agility and mental skills is a great way to help them stay entertained. Set up an agility course in your backyard, garage, or a big indoor room with items like jumps, tunnels, hoops, and poles that your pup can navigate.
You can buy a set or even make your own by buying some simple items from the store. This is a great way to keep your pup active and help them burn off some of that extra energy in a fun, stimulating way.
17. Blow Some Bubbles
No, we’re serious—your pup will love it! Dogs find bubbles fascinating and it’s an easy way to get some action inside the home on a weekday evening. Make sure to get children’s bubbles, which are designed to be non-toxic.
They even have bubbles that are bacon flavored for a calorie-free doggo treat!
You’ll need to train your doggo to “catch” the bubbles. So don’t be surprised when the first few times you blow them, your pup stares and thinks to himself, “what the heck are these things”?
Use commands like “catch” and “get it!” while pointing at them to help teach your pup the ways of bubble-catching.
18. Talk to Your Dog More Often
Have you ever heard the expression, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? Well, even though doggos don’t understand most English words doesn’t mean they won’t respond to you when you talk.
Your dog will find comfort in the tone of your voice and even pick up on things like excitement and happiness—which can be a great way to help keep your pup feeling peaceful throughout the day.
So try talking to them more often, even if it’s just about what you did that day or how excited you are for the weekend.
You may be surprised by what a good listener your dog is and how therapeutic this is for you as well!
19. Enroll Your Doggo in Daycare
Daycare can be a great way to keep your pup entertained and also give you some guilt-free time away from them.
Most doggie daycares have off-leash play areas where dogs can run and explore, as well as plenty of toys to keep them occupied throughout the day.
Make sure that your dog has some basic obedience training before sending them off so that they can stay safe and interact well with other dogs.
20. Let Your Dog Sniff Around On Walks
Dogs are natural explorers and one of their favorite things to do is smell new places and people. So don’t rush through your walks—let your pup take his time and sniff around.
You can also plan your walks around particular places that you know have interesting smells like a park, beach, or even just a different neighborhood.
This will help keep your pup entertained and also give him some mental stimulation as he processes all the new smells.
How Do You Keep a Hyper Dog Busy?
Does your dog seem to have an endless amount of energy? When it comes to hyper dogs, the key is to find genuine ways to calm them down rather than just letting them exert all of their energy with little direction.
This usually involves a bit of training, which helps your hyper-bored dog to focus their attention. This is especially important for puppies. Developing good training habits early on will help your pup learn how to better manage their energy.
We suggest enrolling in an obedience class or working on some basic behaviors at home, like “sit” and “stay”. This is also a great way to give your pup mental stimulation when they don’t have the space or opportunity to run around and play as much.
If using any of the above methods isn’t helping your dog calm down, you may need to try using some other calming methods. Calming vests, like the ThunderShirt, can help some dogs to relax by gently pressing against their body and providing a sense of security.
You might also want to try some calming supplements or pheromone sprays that are designed to help reduce stress and anxiety levels in pets. No matter what you choose, make sure you have patience and understand that calming a hyper pup takes time.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Unhappy?
Boredom in itself isn’t necessarily a problem, but if it leads to a sad pupperino, that’s not a good thing. So here are some signs of a less-than-happy dog so that you can address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem.
- A tucked or low-hanging tail: If your furry friend always has his “mood noodle” tucked between his legs, this could be a sign of unhappiness. He’s protecting his vulnerable area and may be feeling insecure or threatened.
- Excessive barking or whining: Dogs bark for many reasons, but if it becomes excessive it could mean that your pup is bored and trying to communicate something. Similarly, whining can also be a sign of distress or physical pain, so pay attention to the sound and context in which it’s happening.
- Ears are flat against the head: If your pup’s ears are flat against his head and he’s avoiding eye contact, this could be a sign of fear or sadness.
- Reduced appetite: If your pupper is no longer interested in treats or his regular food, it could mean that they’re feeling unhappy and don’t have much motivation to eat.
- Hiding behavior: If your doggie is seeking out a place to hide away and sleep or avoiding interaction with you and other pets, it’s likely they’re feeling anxious or scared. If your dog is displaying any of these signs of unhappiness, it’s important to take action right away. Pay attention to the behaviors that are leading up to the behavior.
The Bottom Line: Do Dogs Get Bored?
Mental stimulation is as critical for our furry friends as it is for us humans. Dogs can easily get bored, especially if they have to stay indoors for most of the day.
If your pup seems unhappy or is displaying any signs of boredom-related behavioral issues, it’s important to take action right away. Try a handful of the above options to help keep your doggerino mentally stimulated and entertained.
With some patience, understanding, and creativity, you can ensure that your pup will never get bored again!
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