A dog who gets bored when alone or in the company is a dog whose basic needs are sometimes not met. They are social beings who feel the need to move around and get attention. However, the needs of a dog vary depending on its individual character. What are the signs that a dog is bored and what can be done about it?
Inactivity is a source of malaise that is often underestimated in our highly active society. Most future dog owners have no idea how much time their four-legged friend will take.
Dogs are intelligent animals that display complex behaviors and are capable of reasoning. They are naturally curious, like to explore new surroundings, and have new experiences – both in contact with other animals or with people, as well as in the form of exploring new objects in their environment. They are able to learn a lot and can quickly expand their repertoire of behaviors and place higher demands on their owners and/or playmates.
A dog who is bored is a dog whose needs are not adequately met.
A first and very important step for dog owners who are concerned about the well-being of their four-legged friend is to get informed and to learn to recognize the signs of boredom in their dog.
What are the Signs That a Dog’s Needs are Not Being Met?
Unfortunately, they are very numerous and the dog can be creative and intelligent enough to find something to do for himself! For example, damage to furnishings: many dog owners believe their dog is causing this out of revenge and venting his anger on the furniture. Take a look at the following scene, shot in the absence of humans: Doesn’t this dog look more like he’s having a lot of fun?
This is the challenge dog trainers face when they discover a behavioral disorder in a dog: figuring out what causes it. This can be just a bad habit (a dog’s mood) or an expression of profound malaise associated with the dog’s failure to meet its needs. Many dog owners complain of the stupid things their dogs do while they are away because they are bored.
The list of behavioral disorders that can occur is long:
- lack of house-training;
- difficulty concentrating and learning;
- depression, resignation.
Passive abuse is also referred to when a pet’s needs are not met without the owner noticing. This often happens when the dog has nothing to do, and our hectic lifestyle often means that we cannot be there enough for him.
How many dogs are wrongly considered hyperactive when they simply don’t actually live in an environment that does them justice?
Over time, this can lead to serious behavioral disorders, which in some cases could be described as obsessive-compulsive. Because inactivity is also a process that has long-term effects: a day of being alone is uncomfortable for a dog but does not make it unhappy if it is an isolated incident. This is different with a dog who always has access to his garden.
How Can You Keep a Dog Busy for Hours?
A bored dog will seek contact with you. It is in his social nature to seek out activities in the company of others and for attention. Therefore, one should, first of all, respond to him and play with his dog. It’s easy to make these situations a habit, because dogs love to learn, and yours will come to you with toys if he sees you react positively to them! This is an excellent way to take good care of your dog.
Dogs are just as easy to keep busy as toddlers.
As a rule, you give your dog a lot of pleasure with just a little attention. You can also make the game entertaining for yourself, for example by doing agility, obedience, or other dog sports with him. These types of activities also tend to strengthen the relationship between you and your dog and make your four-legged friend feel good. His need for activity can change based on his age, current needs, and temperament and will not stay the same throughout his life.
Activities like these can help you fulfill your dog’s second most important need: exercise. Remember that dogs are animals with a lot of stamina and, depending on the breed, it may not be possible for everyone to meet their physical activity needs! Two dogs are less bored because they can play with each other and keep each other company. In this way they avoid inaction, but of course, not everyone has enough space for several dogs.
In addition, the dogs still need games and other activities in their everyday life.
Also, remember to design the dog’s living environment so that he can occupy himself on his own if he wants to. There are tons of toys to try based on your dog’s preferences: chew toys, dog intelligence games, etc. Dog trainers can also show you tons of exercises to try with your bowel.
What are a Dog’s Natural Activities?
This question has an obvious flaw: defining a “natural” dog is difficult. Geneticists and other scientists now speak of the dog as a separate animal species. It differs from dog-like predators in that it lives around humans and is bred in a very specific way.
Dogs have been living with us for over 10,000 years, they are used to our way of life, our homes, and the food we give them.
Your digestive system has partially adapted to our diet, and the carnivorous diet of the wolf has gradually become the dog’s “opportunistic carnivore”. This also affects their behavior, and numerous studies have shown that there are significant differences between dogs and wolves today.
One of these differences is how they get used to humans, which of course only seems logical if you look at the environment in which dogs live. But the dog’s perception is also shaped by this, which can be seen in particular by its ability to cooperate with humans: the dog recognizes a pointer much faster than the wolf!
One way to find out the dog’s natural activities without comparing them to the wolf is to observe dogs in different environments and analyze what they are doing! The scientific literature today offers us numerous publications on the subject of “time management” in dogs. It is the analysis of the distribution of a dog’s behavior over the course of a day.
A Dog’s Time Management
For example, ethnologists have studied the time management of stray dogs. The dogs, who had complete freedom of movement and were in an environment with many sources of food, made their days as follows:
- 53% (~ 6 hours) = inactivity;
- 27% (~ 3 hours) = exploring the area, walking around;
- 11% (~ 1 hour 30) = social exchange;
- 6% (~ 1 hour) = actions for self-support (eating, drinking, …);
- 0.3% = barking and other uses of the voice;
- Body care <<< 0.1%
As can already be seen, a dog is not overly active when its needs are met, and it spends over a quarter of the day observing its surroundings and resting. Nevertheless, with 3 hours of exercise a day, he has a fairly high level of activity. His need for social contact is also obviously great.
His actions for self-support (eating, drinking, …) only take an hour (and personal hygiene is very quick with him!).
This corresponds to the recommendations that dog trainers give for most bowelies:
- at least 2 hours of outdoor walks, every day (and preferably off the leash!);
- stimulating games and activities that enable interaction and trigger positive feelings of cooperativity, freedom, and free choice.
Of course, these numbers are average values and they can vary widely from one dog to another. They depend on the respective breed, the individual temperament, and previous life experiences of a dog.
The hardest part is recognizing boredom in your dog. So be sure to consult a dog behavior expert if you have any doubts and think you are seeing any of the above signs. It is not easy to analyze this on the spot, and finding out that a dog is bored is often the first step towards recovery!