Let’s face it, we all get bored from time-to-time, but thanks to today’s technology, we have smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices, that keep ourselves occupied and entertained almost anywhere. But without opposable thumbs, our dogs are left at their own devices, especially when they’re alone. Without texting, tweeting, posting and pinning, they often turn to destructive tendencies or other problematic behavior such as soiling, which is unpleasant for everyone.
Keeping a pet on a strict schedule is the best option for many reasons, but during times when they are curious, wondering if they will be fed, waiting to being walked, watching for when we will arrive home from work: separation anxiety. A routine can help keep them from misbehaving.
Despite this familiar routine, which can be vital for their own well-being, left alone to their own devices, some dogs can damage themselves, our home and their own health in the process.
Many of us know about the Kong ® toy, a plaything that can help keep a dog entertained for quite a while, granted it is a marvelous invention, but at the same time, similar to the original King Kong scenario, swatting at planes or chewing on a rubber toy, this novelty can wear off quickly. The key to curing boredom is consistently “mixing it up,” changing routines and keeping things different and refreshing.
Here’s a list of the top ten ways to keep Fido friendlier, a little less feisty and free from their everyday boredom, regular routine and humdrum home life:
- Walking: Don’t take them on that same old route around the block, change things up with a different path. Load them up into the car and visit a national park that allows pets. Even walking around the block backwards can be refreshing.
- Playing: Change their toys and routines, don’t play fetch every day, try tug-of-war, hide-and-go-seek, anything that changes their stale routine.
- Tricks: Teach them new tricks or elaborate on old ones. For example, if Fido likes to fetch, instead try playing a “who can get it faster” game with their ball on a stable surface or get active on the floor with them.
- Socialize: Dogs are pack animals, see if you can arrange some “play dates” with family, friends and neighbors who have dogs where they can spend some quality times with their newfound friends.
- Vocabulary: Teach them new words that are associated with different behaviors or functions. Familiar phrases like “Go for a walk” added to other sentences like, “Come and get some loving,” for some quality petting practices.
- Chores: Let them join you in your ordinary chores, like laundry and housekeeping, using the aforementioned word-association to get them motivated. “Do you wanna go for walk?” can be just as inviting as “Let’s go do the laundry” if you’re paying attention to them and they are participating.
- Hide-And-Go-Seek: Play this old-fashioned, fun game with toys, treats and even yourself, just like when we were kids. Be interactive and engage with them as they seek out their favorite food, plaything and perhaps their master. Tell them to sit-and-stay while you are elusive with the hidden treasure that they will eventually locate.
- Waterways: Many dogs are very water friendly and appreciate a get-away to a nearby lake or an ocean visit. If the travel is too extensive or expensive, consider getting a kiddie-pool for the summer months.
- Park it: Dog parks are continuing to grow in popularity and location. Dogs can roam free and socialize with other animals at these many locations. Google a dog-friendly location near you and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine with your pooch.
- Enjoy some TLC: If you don’t already have a regularly scheduled alone time for you and your buddy, carve out some caring moments that you and your bestie can enjoy some quality time together.
We can all have some more fun with our pets and alleviate our own boredom while enjoying our downtime together. Spending some more time with “Spot” will have us spot-on with with our beloved best friend.