Keeping boredom at bay through play

With the summer sun causing many dog owners to postpone or even cancel their walks to keep their dogs safe from the heat, it can be common for some dogs to start showing signs of boredom. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can keep dogs having fun away from the heat.

Signs of boredom can include problematic issues such as barking, digging, chewing and other destructive behaviours, and may occur while the owners are in the house, but more often when they are away. Not only is boredom frustrating for the owner, it is also an issue for the dog as it can often lead to problems with anxiety.

One of the easiest ways to alleviate boredom is through food. Treat dispensing balls, feeders and toys encourage dogs to use their nose and brain in tandem, offering far more than just an eating exercise. Interactive toys that consist of lots of parts joined together can also be stuffed with treats. They can be used at feed times to extend the time it takes for a dog to finish its meal or during times when a dog may become more stressed, such as when owners leave the house or when there is a lot of movement in the household. Owner’s needn’t use special treats, and can simply portion the normal food ration within the toys.

Having the radio left on can be a helpful way to soothe dogs. A radio simply gives the dog a feeling of having company – just make sure you leave it on a quiet and chatty channel (loud dance music probably won’t have much of a positive effect).

A perfect option for the warmer temperature are ice treats! You can freeze small pieces of your dog’s favourite treat into a container, that they can lick during the day – keeping them distracted from causing any mischief.

For dogs who are really feeling the effects of limited walks or displaying multiple boredom behaviours, it may be best to get help from a friend who is experienced with dogs or hire a professional dog sitter. There are many qualified individuals offering day care services at reasonable prices, which not only ensure belongings stay damage free, but also that dogs stay happy, have a change of scenery and have the opportunity to make some new four-legged friends!

It is also wise to reduce temptation by removing any items that may stimulate unwanted behaviours. This may mean tidying away shoes, bags, pillows or any anything else left in the dogs reach. Replace these items with sturdy dog toys specially designed for your dog’s breed, and more importantly size. A dog’s desire to do things such as chew is natural, so by replacing items you don’t want damaged with those that are allowed to be chewed, will give dogs the ability to relieve those behaviours. Before you use any new strategies, make sure you test them out while you are with the dog. This way you can make sure the strategies are effective and safe before the dog is left alone with them.