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Is My Dog Bored? How Can I Make My Dog More Lively?

Have you found that your pup is often staring out into space or spending a lot of time chewing or destroying his toys? Or did your dog start barking a ton in recent weeks? These might be common signs of a bored dog. 

is my dog bored
Help! Is my dog bored? How can I get my dog to be more lively?

Yet, there may be other reasons for your dog’s behavior, such as general agitation or loneliness. If you want to learn whether your dog is bored and how you can make your canine more alive and happy, read my descriptions below. I’ve spent decades raising and taking care of dogs, so I’ve learned to read their cues and understand their behavior. 

I also did my research about dog boredom, so you’ll get the best information out there. Now let’s get started! 

How to Know If Your Dog Is Bored

Can dogs get bored during the day? Absolutely! Dogs originally spent their days working with their owners, such as at a farm where they may herd sheep. Without the ability to spend time with humans or other animals, canines can get bored when staying home all day.

Owners tend to leave their dogs home alone for several hours to get errands done or to go to work, which can make their pups bored. If you’ve seen your canine chewing on shoes, pulling the stuffing from their toys, or barking excessively when you get home, then boredom could be a factor. 

An airedale terrier
An Airedale Terrier with a top grade two-color coat. One of the biggest low to no shedding dog breeds.

Dog Boredom Signals

There are numerous signs and cues you can get from dogs to tell whether they are bored. Some of these possibilities include:

  • Digging
  • Chewing
  • Biting or scratching
  • Breaking things
  • Barking too much
  • Becoming overly excited

Let’s delve further into each of these signs below.

Digging

Whenever you take your dog outdoors to play in your backyard, you may see your pup digging way too much. If you take your dog on a walk and she starts digging in a neighbor’s lawn, you know you’ve got trouble. At the very least, this digging behavior can cause problems to your yard and home. You’ll need to decrease boredom for your pup to prevent this behavior.

labradoodle puppy chew on a toy

Chewing

Have you seen your best friend chewing on your shoes or furniture? Has your pup chewed through all of his toys? Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if your dog has 20 or 30 stuffed toys to chew on, as bored canines will go through and chew nearly everything in your home. 

This need to chew can be really detrimental to your belongings. As such, alleviating your dog’s boredom is essential. I’ll go into more detail about reducing boredom in the second half of this guide. 

Scratching/Biting

I’ve seen one of my dogs scratch and bite family members and belongings in the past. Sometimes, it may be due to my dogs getting agitated if they didn’t get that bite of steak they wanted. Canines scratching themselves may also have fleas or allergies. If you’ve ruled those out, then the dog is usually bored. 

Breaking Toys and Other Belongings

Dogs may find it fun and stimulating to break and destroy their toys as well as some of your belongings. This is especially true for bored dogs. If you see that your dog has pulled the stuffing out of most of their toys and stuffed animals, then your pup is likely bored whenever you leave home.

Barking

Dogs can start barking for a variety of reasons. If you live on a main street with a big window to the outdoors, then your pup could bark at the mailman, the neighbors walking by, another dog, or even a car driving past. Dogs might start barking at a chirping bird outdoors. 

However, if the barking is nonstop and becoming a nuisance, it’s likely your canine is bored and trying to keep himself entertained.

a white bull terrier
What a dog! A white Bull Terrier dog in a flowery field. One of the biggest white dog breeds.

Extreme Licking Behavior

Does your dog lick you too much when you get home after leaving her alone for a while? Does she start jumping up and down, trying to leap into your arms? Whenever my dog has done this, it was clear that the pup got very bored home alone.

Excessively Excited

When you get home after a day out, does your dog get very happy and excessively excited to see you? If your dog greets you in an overly eager way when you come home, then your pup might be getting bored and lonely. Below, I outline some ways you can reduce your dog’s boredom.

What Should I Do to Decrease My Dog’s Boredom?

Most of the time that you see your dog exhibiting the behaviors above, he is likely bored. However, you should make sure it’s not separation anxiety by talking with a dog trainer. If you’re sure boredom is the culprit, you can reduce your dog’s weariness via the following processes:

  • Get your dog moving and exercising
  • Have your dog perform cognitive exercises and games
  • Socialize your pup around other people and dogs
  • Train your dog and teach him new tricks

Physical Fitness

By tiring out your dog with a run or long walk and making sure your pup gets plenty of time to play, you’ll find that there’s less chance of boredom and mischief when you leave home. Make sure your dog gets enough space to run around. Toss a tennis ball around to get your pup active.

rough collie outside
A Rough Collie enjoying the fresh breeze. A super cute but sometimes very aggressive dog breed.

Cognitive Exercises

To get dogs cognitively stimulated and reduce their boredom, you’ll need to play certain games with them and get them interactive toys, like puzzle toys or hide-and-seek plushes. There are little pads with squeaky noises and lots of other fun activities for your dog to complete.

Remember dogs can have a surprisingly high IQ – so plan a lot of different activities with variety.

Socialize Your Dog

Socialization is important for both puppies and adult dogs. Spending time with different people and in new places will help your dog battle boredom. Make friends with other dog owners and set up a day for your dogs to play together. For instance, you might want to check out local dog parks where your pup can bark with other canines.

Training and Teaching Tricks

You should also train your dogs to ensure they behave appropriately. You might want to get your dogs to go to obedience school if necessary. To truly remove boredom from your household, teach your canines some new tricks, such as rolling over or climbing the stairs upon command. 

Wrap Up

Now that you’ve read through this information, you should know whether or not your dog is exhibiting boredom. With the tips above, you should be able to help your dog become more lively. 

Now, go out for a run with your dog and make sure to provide interactive toys during playtime.