Is your best mate misbehaving? He might just be bored.
Remember, dogs are meant to leave active lives. In the wild, dogs are spending the
majority of their waking lives hunting and scavenging, and most domestic dogs are
bred to hunt, fetch game, retrieve prey or herd livestock.
Our dogs spend most of their days sleeping while we are at work. When we come
home we wonder why they get silly and chew our shoes or bark with delight. So, it’s
time to get active.
If you don’t have livestock to herd or ducks to shoot there are still many ways you
can keep your best friend busy. Professionals call this enrichment. Here are some
ideas to bring enrichment into your dog’s life:
Head out and invest in some food toys for your pet. Something like a KONG or
a Twist ‘n Treat are great and will keep him busy for hours. These food
puzzle toys are designed so that dogs have to shake, play with or lick the toy
to get the food out. Dogs need patience and problem-solving abilities to get
the food. Hours of fun!
Hiding your dog’s dinner before you leave for work is also a way to keep him
busy while you’re gone. Scatter some treats in the grass or hide food under
All dogs like to chew, so leave your mate with a chew toy, bones, rawhide or
Be sure to get to the dog park in the morning, so your dog can burn off some
energy and socialise. He will be much less likely to be bored if he starts off
the day tired and happy.
Once you get home and on the weekends, don’t forget to make time with your
dog, and this isn’t restricted to a regular walk down to the dog park. Hanging
out and playing with your pets is good for them and for you. Try a game of
tug of war or fetch. Hide food and let your dog find it, offering heaps of praise
when he does. Dogs also love to chase, whether it’s you, the kids or a piece of
rope – just tie a length of rope to a pipe or stick and twirl it around or drag it
on the ground for your dog to chase.
Grab a frisbee or old soccer ball and head to the park.
If your dog is really keen, look into obedience or agility training. There are
heaps of activities around.
If you’re super busy, consider engaging the help of a dog walker or look into
doggy day care facilities. If you work close to home, perhaps you can pop
back and spend your lunch hour with your mate, or ask friends and family to
drop around regularly for a quick game and a pat.