Does your dog seem more bored than usual lately? Dogs, just like people, need mental stimulation in order to thrive. Learning how to entertain your dog can be as simple as using a dog jogging stroller and taking them for a ride around the neighborhood. However, not all dogs are easy to entertain. In this guide, I’ll explore some great ideas that can have your best friend’s tag wagging in no time, regardless of their age, energy level, or breed.
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Making Time for Man’s Best Friend
If this is your first dog, then one of the most important first-time dog owner tips you’ll ever learn is that a bored dog is a destructive dog, so keeping your dog happy and entertained is essential, both to their mental health and your personal belongings.
When a dog is bored, they can start displaying unwanted behaviors, such as chewing up your favorite pair of shoes, digging in the yard, or even inappropriately eliminating in the house. The problem is that many pet owners don’t know what to do to provide their pets with the types of mental stimulation they need. However, even just thirty minutes a day of spending some one on one time with your pet can do wonders for their mood. A dog is a pack animal and considers their owner the leader of their pack. So, by paying attention your pet, you’re essentially making their day, making them feel important, and helping by providing that mental stimulation and physical exercise all dogs need.
Below, you’ll find some great ways to spend time with your pet, or keep them entertained when you’re out running errands or at work.
Tug of War
A simple game of tug of war with your pet can give them plenty of physical exercise, while providing much needed one on one time. You can use a standard tug toy and wrestle and play with your dog in the backyard or at your local park, for just half an hour. If you have an older or overweight dog, this can help provide them with some much-needed exercise.
Plan a New Route for Your Daily Walks
If your dog isn’t wagging their tail the way they used to when you first started taking them for a walk, it may be because they’re tired of the same old route. Mix it up a little and take him or her on a new walking route. This new route will have new sounds and smells, so you’ll notice right away how excited your pet is to check out new territory.
If you’re at work or heading out to run some errands, your dog may quickly become bored, planting themselves in front of the door and counting the minutes until you return. Using some interactive toys can be a great way to keep them entertained and can provide the mental stimulation they need.
Try using a treat dispensing toy, like a King, which is a thick, durable chew toy that allows your dog to chew and chew licking out peanut butter from the center of the toy as it’s worked out of the center from the chewing, or you can stuff the toy with dog treats.
Teach Your Dog Tricks
Out pets are usually much smarter than we know. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your dog picks up new tricks when you spend the time teaching them. Just fifteen minutes a day dedicated to teaching your dog a new trick is all it takes. You can find some great ideas for tricks to teach your pet online. During one of these training sessions, make sure you have their favorite pet treat on hand and use positive reinforcement even if they’re not quick to catch on.
Create an Obstacle Course in Your Backyard
Some dogs, such as herding dogs, need a challenge, otherwise they can quickly become bored and this boredom can lead to destructive behavior, or worse, attempts to escape the yard. To can easily create a small backyard obstacle coruse for your pet, using tunnels, planks, and toys, teaching your dog how to run through the course and timing them, making each run a challenge. You’ll notice that working with your dog in this manner is both physically and mentally stimulating for them, but it will also help to strengthen the bond between you, especially if you haven’t had much time to devote to your pet lately.
Make sure that you switch up the course once your dog has got it down, otherwise they’ll quickly become bored.
Go for a Run
Does your dog have a lot of built up energy? Are they hyperactive? Large breed dogs need plenty of physical exercise. If you’re dealing with a dog that has started showing destructive behavior, then a morning run may be just what he or she needs. Make sure that you start off slow, especially if you yourself are not used to morning runs. In the beginning plan on jogging or running for fifteen to twenty minutes, two or three times a day. You can gradually increase the length of the run or how often you go for a run once both you and your dog are physically ready. These runs will be a great way to provide mental and physical stimulation. You’ll also notice that your pet is exhausted and perfectly content taking a long nap immediately after.
Dog Walker Services
If you spend a lot of time at the office, then hiring a dog walker, or having a friend or neighbor come over during the day to take your dog for a short walk around the neighborhood may be just what’s needed to prevent boredom from setting in and giving your dog too much time alone to chew on your shoes or display other types of unwanted destructive behaviors.
Offer a Way to Stay Cool
During the summer, you’ll notice that your dog may seem border than usual. The heat keeps them indoors and they just don’t seem to have the energy to do anything but lie there. If you don’t have a pool in your yard, try introducing a small wading pool. If your dog loves water, then they’ll definitely enjoy taking a dip, then racing around the yard to dry off. You can also spend a little time with them in the backyard and switch on the sprinklers or chase them around for the hose. If it’s simply too hot out, even for a dip in the pool, then click here to read my guide on how to exercise your dog inside the home
Bring a New Pet Home
Does your dog get along well with other dogs? Do you have the space for another dog in the home? If you answered yes to both questions, then your dog may benefit greatly from having a furry companion that they can play with and sleep with during the day when you’re at work. Do your research concerning breed types, behaviors, and compatibility. This will help you choose a new dog that will be a great addition to your home and one that will be a great companion to your other dog.
If your dog gets along well with other dogs, but they live in a single dog household, then having a friend bring over their dog can also be a fun way to entertain your dog, while helping to socialize them. A doggie playdate can take place at a local park, or you can meet up with your friend and their pet on your daily walk. It’s important that you introduce the dogs correctly, so their initial meeting should not take place in the home or in the yard, since your dog will consider it their territory and may perceive the visiting dog as a threat. If you have an overly friendly and social dog, then meeting at home may not be such a bad idea. This will ultimately depend on your pet. If all goes well, plan on a play date once a week.
A simple game of fetch can really tire both you and your pet out. It allows for bonding time and will give your dog the exercise they need. You can try using a frisbee, a tennis ball, or another type of durable ball and watch how excited your pet gets every time you bring the ball out. Shoot for twenty minutes of fetch once a day.
If you didn’t know how to entertain your dog before, now you have a great guide to refer to whenever your dog seems a little down or they’ve lost that pep in their step. This guide includes many fun and safe activities that will work for dogs of all ages. Remember, you know your pet best, so choose activities you know your pet will appreciate the most and ones that can provide the type of mental and physical stimulation they need to thrive.