Dogs may love routine, but they don’t love boredom. If a dog isn’t getting sufficient mental and physical exercise each day, he may become depressed. The dog’s eating or sleeping habits may change, which can lead to house training lapses or what might appear to be lethargy. It’s really important, of course, not to ascribe these things to boredom without getting a veterinarian to examine the dog, but do consider it if there’s been a recent change, such as a move, new job, new relationship, etc. that has made you less available to your dog as a reliable companion or play mate.
Another consequence of boredom is a dog who dreams up his own “jobs” to entertain himself. These can include barking, whining, digging up your flower garden, chewing shoes, or shredding pillows, and even moving furniture about. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
So, what can we do to prevent boredom for our dogs when life gets in the way? One way is to make the time we do spend with them productively stimulating. For example, let’s say you have to spend more time at your desk working or studying. Instead of ignoring your dog, he could be using his senses and his brain lying at your feet with a snuffle mat. In fact, one of the best ways to keep a dog entertained is by using interactive toys. Make sure to supervise when your dog is playing. But know that these brain-stimulating activities are often giving your dog much more bang for the buck than a ten mile walk.