With times as they are, we are all trying to give our dogs a more enriching life. Human interaction is absolutely wonderful for animals, but they also need to understand the benefits of entertaining themselves when we can’t be around. In honor of National Anti-Boredom Month, we’re going to offer up a few tips to keep that puppy occupied.
- Interaction Distraction: If you ever need to leave your dog alone, try providing them with a toy that gives them some independent engagement. Many pet owners make the mistake of giving dogs plush toys or balls as items to interact with when they aren’t around. Realistically, those toys are meant to be enjoyed with their person. Try stuffing a kong instead! This toy is the ultimate slow delivery reward, and lasts for a decent amount of time, especially when frozen. One of the benefits about the kong is that you can use your dog’s meal as well and they can enjoy it in a more engaging way than simply sitting in a bowl.
- Walking the Dog: Not like the yo-yo trick. Hiring a reliable dog walking service, or even taking your dog on a long walk if you’re able, helps with mental stimulation. Walking is a great time for a dog to explore their environment, get their smells in, see who has been around, and answer their pee mail. Dogs enjoy exploring their world through their nose and walks can fill that void. It’s also a great way for them to get a little bit of exercise in and expend some pent up energy.
- Sniff, Snoff, Snufflemat: Playing off that snoot one more time, snufflemats are an opportunity for your dog to use their biggest gateway to the world and keep them occupied. Snuffle mats are generally made of fleece and have little loops and pockets to hide treats and food in. Sniffing is already a great relaxing behavior for a dog, getting some treats is an added bonus. It also provides us dedicated owners with some time to focus on other household tasks.
- Poochie Playtime: If you’re able to, invest in a dog daycare. Qualified staff members spend time making sure your dog enjoys group or individual play, enrichment, and meals if needed. Some facilities even offer training, which is a great way to add to your pup’s daily routine and offer them more education. You can also regularly bring home a tired, satisfied, woofer.
There are many ways to combat boredom in dogs, even when our schedules might start becoming a little hectic. Even if we are at home more often, we definitely deserve to have time to ourselves without sacrificing our precious pup’s mental health. Consider these options for your best friend, and happy training!