Just like kids stuck in the house on a rainy day, your puppy can get bored if left alone too long. He craves exercise and mental stimulation. If you and your family aren’t giving him enough, he will find a way to entertain himself – most likely by doing something you wish he wouldn’t!
If your puppy gets bored, you’re likely to find him:
- Chewing excessively
- Barking (or other ways of getting your attention)
- Licking or chewing himself (note this could also be a sign of fleas)
Here are some ideas for nipping boredom in the bud and helping your puppy stay out of trouble.
If you have a puppy, you already know your furbaby is an adorable bundle of energy. When he’s not napping, your cute little puff of fur is go, go and go. Puppyhood is an important stage of development for dogs, so you need to keep the puppy entertained — whether you are indoors or out.
Keeping your furry buddy working is also important for training and to keep damage to a minimum. A bored puppy is absolutely a puppy who’s getting into trouble! Keeping the little one engaged helps them grow and ensures things don’t take a destructive turn.
1. Teach New Tricks
Your dog is capable of learning all sorts of tricks, no matter how old they are! Keep your dog on its toes (or its paws!) by continually teaching them new tricks. By spending a few minutes each day teaching your pup, you’ll be providing them much needed mental stimulation. And your dog will love the extra attention!
Positive reinforcement is key when teaching your dog a new trick, and small treats make excellent rewards! Offering your dog new and tasty treats can help keep them interested when learning a new trick Make a list of tricks that you want to teach your puppy, and have your family work with him on a daily basis to master each trick one at a time. For example, you can train him to shake your hand, jump over you if you are on your hands and knees, find an object, and play dead.
2. Exercise Every Day
A tired dog is a happy dog, so you can encourage good behavior by playing with your dog every day. It can be as simple as running around the yard or the park, or you can take your dog on a hike or long walk. Anything that gets your dog up and moving!
3. Hide & Seek
Another way to give your dog some mental stimulation is by challenging them to find their favorite treat. The first few times you play, you should hide the treat in a location that’s relatively easy to find, like behind a furniture leg. As your dog gets the hang of the game, you can start hiding treats is more hidden places, like underneath their dog bed or behind a pillow. There are also feeding puzzles that challenge your dog to figure out how to get to the food inside. Every dog has the instinct to hunt and run. You can tap into this instinct by getting your baby furball to chase balls and sticks and by playing hide and seek. Be sure to reward your baby when they find the target.
Most dogs love toys, and their owners love them, too! Toys provide mental stimulation and exercise, and they’re great for keeping your dog busy. But some dogs are rougher on toys than others, and some dogs are downright destructive! Give your puppy a variety of toys, and rotate them every few days to keep his interest. Try food-dispensing toys using kibble to keep him entertained. There are tons of toys for tiny furbabies. From toys where you can hide peanut butter inside so the dog has to work hard to solve the puzzle to squeaky toys and knots that can mean hours of fun chewing, these can be a lot of fun for a young dog.
5. Chew Time
Chewing is a natural canine instinct, because it helps dogs keep their jaws strong and their teeth clean. It can also be a self-soothing behavior for anxious dogs. Providing your dog several options for chewing can help deter them from chewing on your stuff.
6. No Free Lunch
Your dog is willing to do a lot to get what they want, so you can challenge your dog by making them work for everyday things. For example, you could ask your dog to shake before taking them out for a walk, or you could have them sit before they get to eat their dinner. Making your dog work a little bit reinforces the idea that obedience will get them what they want, rather than bad behavior.
7. Fun and games
Puppies love to play. Games like fetch, flyball or other agility sports will tire your puppy out. Playing these games in the park (or somewhere else he can run) will burn off excess energy so he’ll mellow out for the rest of the day.
8. Before and after
Take your puppy out for a walk to get nice and tired. When you return home, spend some quality time with him as a reward for good behaviour.
We all get a little lonely sometimes, your puppy included. If your family is ready for another furry friend, your puppy is less likely to be bored if he has a playmate. Click here to understand how to introduce your existing dog to the new one.
Taking a walk every day (or a few times a day) will give your puppy the physical and mental stimulation he needs. It’s also a great chance for you to get out and about yourself!
Since baby furballs have so much energy, you can keep them playing for a long time by getting them to jump over a bar or getting them to jump high for a ball or stick. When your pup makes the jump, be sure to be exorbitant in your praise.
Brushing, washing and otherwise grooming your puppy is important to keep them looking their best. Grooming also encourages close physical contact, which is crucial for your bond and your pup’s development. Additionally, daily grooming can take up plenty of time and get your hyperactive furry baby to relax a bit.