7 Boredom Busters for Dogs to Keep Them Stimulated

Try these easy solutions to entertain your pup and beat doggy boredom.

Published January 24, 2023
A bored french bulldog lying down

If you've ever seen your dog sit and stare at nothing with a vacant look in their eye, you probably know the signs of dog boredom. Dogs get bored when they don't have enough stimulation in their lives. They may start chewing on furniture, barking, digging, or even escaping from the yard. Their agitation is palpable. They need some fun, and you need a break from the anxiety. The best way to prevent your dog from getting bored is to give them enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Playing with Toys

There are many ways to help your dog stay entertained, whether you're away from home or busy, but it's important that they don't all involve food or treats. If you notice your dog getting bored, it's time to think of ways to keep your dog mentally and physically entertained. Toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied and mentally stimulated.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys for dogs are a great way to keep your dog occupied and encourage physical and mental stimulation. They're also a great way to bond with your pooch! When you give your dog a puzzle toy, it gives them something to concentrate on and keeps them busy while you do other things.

To make sure your dog gets the most out of their toy, choose one that keeps them entertained for a long time. This will help prevent boredom and anxiety in your dog, which can lead to destructive behaviors and chewing on things they shouldn't chew on.

Puzzle toys come in all shapes and sizes, so there is something for every dog. Some puzzles are easier than others, so look for one that challenges your pup without being too difficult. Also, look for puzzles that have different levels of difficulty so they can grow with their skills.

When choosing a puzzle toy for your dog, make sure it has enough room inside for treats or kibble so your pup can earn their reward by working through the maze! If there isn't enough space inside the puzzle, it won't be challenging enough for them, or they may get frustrated trying to get the treats out.

Learning New Tricks

Teaching a dog new tricks is a great way to bond with your pet. It's also a way to show off your dog's intelligence and obedience, which can make for a fun family activity. This activity can also provide your dog with some much-needed mental stimulation.

Shake Paws

Shaking hands is probably one of the easiest tricks you can teach your dog, but it may not seem that way at first. Dogs naturally have a fear of having their paws touched, so getting them comfortable with this exercise will take some time.

Before trying this trick, make sure your dog is comfortable having their paws touched in other ways. For example, by gently rubbing them with your hand or foot when they're lying on their side or back. If they don't like this at all, wait until they get used to it before trying the shake trick again. Hint: It helps a lot if you start touching and inspecting their paws when they're puppies.

If they are OK with their paws being touched, you can begin teaching the trick. Start by getting your dog's attention with a treat and show them the treat in your hand. Then, place your hand near their nose, just far enough away that they cannot take it. Hold the treat so they can see it, but not reach it. When they try to get the treat with their mouth, say "Shake" or "No," and put your hand out flat with palm facing down.

Repeat this step until your dog understands that when you say "Shake," they should put their paw on top of yours. This may take a few tries, so keep repeating this step until they get it right every time. Once they have mastered this step, hold out one of their paws so that it touches yours and say "Shake." Give them a treat when they do what you're asking. Then, repeat the process until your dog understands what you want them to do each time.

Reinforce Their Training

If you don't want to teach new tricks or your dog already knows them all, spending some time reinforcing what they already know is a great way to keep them busy while increasing their confidence levels. Reinforcing simple commands like "Sit," "Stay," and "Come" is a great place to start.

Plus, it doesn't hurt to reinforce these commands for your dog's safety. If your dog knows any advanced commands, you can also reinforce these, as well. Review the commands until your dog appears to be losing interest. Then, later on in the day, you can restart.

Give Them Some Nosework

Nosework is a fun and exciting dog sport that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It involves teaching your dog to use their natural sniffing ability to focus on different scents, find them in an area, then indicate when they have found the right one. Nosework games are great for bonding with your dog and giving them some mental stimulation. It can also be a good way of helping your dog get some exercise and burn off some energy!

Find the Treat

You can use a variety of treats, but it's best to start off with something small that your dog will find easily. For example, you could use pieces of their favorite treat or pieces of cheese. As they become more comfortable with the game and better at finding the treats, you can shift to larger and harder-to-find treats, such as hot dogs or even pieces from their regular meals, but only if they are not too large.

When teaching this game to your dog, try hiding the treat in one place so that they learn how to find it there before you move on to other locations. To encourage them to hunt for the treat on their own, as opposed to just waiting for you, make sure that their nose is pointed toward where the treat is hidden. Make sure they have enough room to walk around without bumping into obstacles, and there aren't any other distractions where they're supposed to be searching.

Find the Scented Object

For this game, all you need is a scent object that has been treated with an odor. You can buy these at most pet stores or make one yourself using pine shavings and adding some drops of vanilla extract or peppermint oil. You'll want to soak the object in the scent for several hours before playing this game so that it will be strong enough for your dog to smell while they're searching around the room.

In this game, you can either hide the object somewhere in a room or place it on top of something high up so that your dog can find it by using their nose. Once they find it, reward them with lots of praise! Give a treat every now and then, and you'll strongly reinforce this behavior.

Show Affection

Dogs crave affection from their family members in much the same way people do. They want to be petted and stroked, because this helps them relax and bond with their owners. You don't have to spend hours on end giving your dog attention, but at least give them some quality time every day so that they know that they are loved and wanted.

If you work away from home, it may be difficult to give your dog as much attention as they deserve while you are gone. However, if you aren't home often, you may want to look into getting a pet sitter to keep them occupied with company while you're gone. This way, your dog won't miss out on being loved by someone during the day while they're stuck at home all by themselves waiting for their pet parent to come back from work.

Get Them Moving

Physical exercise is a huge component of your dog's overall health. This includes their mental health. They need time outside, walking, running around, playing fetch or other games, and generally burning off their excess energy. Start with daily walks, and consider moving up to something more strenuous. Both you and your dog will feel fit and be better off for it.

Why Dogs Get Bored

Boredom in dogs is becoming a big problem. One of the reasons for this is that people are working more and spending less time at home with their pets. Dogs are social animals who need regular interaction with people and other animals in order to be happy.

The key word here is "regular." If you leave your dog home with nothing to do all day long, they will get bored and frustrated. This can lead to destructive behavior or negative interactions with other animals or people in your house.

Boredom in dogs is a serious problem. It has been linked to a number of behavioral problems, including separation anxiety, destructive behavior, and excessive barking. They have a strong desire for mental stimulation and physical exercise; if you cannot provide either of these things, your dog will find something else to do instead, and it's usually not anything you want them doing.

Keeping Your Dog Happy

Dogs are very social animals, and they thrive on human companionship. They get bored easily and need mental and physical interaction to stay healthy and happy. Remember to keep them busy with boredom busters and providing a sufficient amount of affection. If you begin putting some extra effort into preventing boredom and increasing affection, you will begin to notice a big difference in your dog's behavior.

7 Boredom Busters for Dogs to Keep Them Stimulated