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Say Goodbye to Boredom: Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy and Engaged

Say Goodbye to Boredom: Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy and Engaged

We all love our furry friends, and as responsible pet parents, it's important we ensure their overall well-being. One common issue that dog owners face is boredom. Dogs thrive with interaction, learning and adventure, but sometimes situations arise that mean we just can't provide these as much as our dogs require. It could be a hot summer day, too hot to go out for a rigorous play session or a long walk. Or maybe we've got a packed work schedule and can't get home to take the dog for their customary lunchtime walk. Dogs are intelligent animals, and when left unstimulated, they can become bored, which can lead to destructive behaviors and even health problems (de Assis et al., 2020). So, how can you cure your dog's boredom and provide them with a fulfilling life? Here are some tips to help you out.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity is crucial for a dog's mental and physical health. In a wild-like setting, domesticated dogs may wander huge distances, with home territories up to 70km2 (Boitani, Ciucci and Ortolani, ). Make sure to provide daily exercise that suits your dog's size, type and energy level. Walks, runs, and play sessions not only keep them physically fit but also stimulate their minds and prevent boredom. Depending on your dog's confidence and comfort, try adventuring new locations, stop and smell the roses (literally), and let them engage in natural exploratory behaviours.

Interactive Toys

When walking outside isn't feasible, invest in interactive toys that challenge your dog's problem-solving skills and keep them engaged. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and toys that make sounds can provide hours of entertainment. If your dog derives the most joy from tearing toys apart - let them (with supervision). Deconstruction is a normal dog behaviour and it can be very rewarding for their brain, but make sure they are supervised and chewing on appropriate toys to avoid ingestion of foreign materials or damaged teeth and gums (Pullen, Merrill and Bradshaw, 2010; Payne, Bennett and McGreevy, 2015). Rotate the toys regularly to keep their interest levels high. Pawty Animals offers eco-friendly dog toys that can help your dog to stay entertained while keeping the planet clean and healthy!

Training Sessions

Engage your dog's mind with training sessions. Teaching them new tricks, or practicing behaviours and obedience cues not only provides mental stimulation and enrichment but also strengthens the bond between you and your pet (Fernandez, 2022). Use positive reinforcement techniques like treats, play and praise to make it a fun experience. Engage your dog's mind with brain games and activities. Hide treats around the house or use food puzzles to challenge their problem-solving abilities. You can also teach them scent games, such as finding hidden objects or identifying different smells.

Playdates and Doggy Daycare

Dogs are social creatures, and dog-dog social interaction can be beneficial for some dogs, especially if they spend a significant amount of time alone, as many companion dogs are eager to play with other dogs (Smutts, 2014). However, just like us, not all dogs are social butterflies and some feel a lot of pressure in social situations, so be aware of your dog's individual preferences. If appropriate for your dog, arrange playdates with other friendly dogs or consider enrolling them in a reputable doggy daycare. This will give them an opportunity to socialize and burn off energy in a supervised setting.

Rotate Environments

Dogs can become bored with the same surroundings day after day and can become very habituated to routine. Introduce some variety by taking them on different routes during walks or visit new dog-friendly places like parks or beaches. Exposing them to new scents and environments keeps their senses stimulated and prevents monotony, and try taking them out for play sessions and walks at different, unpredictable times of day. One notable exception is for senior dogs, especially dogs with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, for whom it may best to keep a stable and consistent routine to help them understand the course of their day better (Landsberg, DePorter and Araujo, 2011).

Quality Time

Dogs bond strongly with their people and crave attention from their human companions (Payne, Bennett and McGreevy, 2015). Spend quality time with your dog every day, whether it's cuddling, grooming, or simply relaxing together. Your presence and love will help alleviate boredom and keep them emotionally fulfilled.


Boitani L, Ciucci P, Ortolani A (2007) Behavior and Social Ecology of Free-Ranging Dogs. In: Jensen (ed) The Behavioural Biology of Dogs. CAB International: Oxfordshire, UK, pp. 147-165.

de Assis LS, Matos R, Pike TW, Burman OHP, Mills DS (2020) Developing diagnostic frameworks in veterinary behavioral medicine: disambiguating separation related problems in dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 6:499, doi:10.3389/fvets.2019.00499.

Fernadez EJ (2022) Training as enrichment: A critical review. Animal Welfare 21, doi:10.7120/09627286.31.1.001

Landsberg GM, DePorter T (2011) Clinical signs and management of anxiety, sleeplessness, and cognitive dysfunction in the senior pet. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice 41: 565-590.

Payne E, Bennett PC, McGreevy PD (2015) Current perspectives on attachment and bonding in the dog-human dyad. Psychology Research and Behavior Management: 71-79.

Pullen AJ, Merrill RJN, Bradshaw JWS (2010) Preferences for toy types and presentations in kennel housed dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 125: 151-156.

Smutts B (2014) Social Behaviour among Companion Dogs with an Emphasis on Play. In: Kaminski J, Marshall-Pescini S (eds) The Social Dog, Acadmic Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, pp:105-130.