“There’s nothing to do”
Remember saying these things when you were a kid? I sure do! And, if your dog chews your shoes, spends the day poised at the window waiting to express his inner Cujo when neighborhood dogs walk by, creates whole-house artwork with the roll of toilet paper, or digs holes in your perennial bed, that is likely what your dog is expressing as well.
So how do you keep your dog from doing those things that you’d prefer he doesn’t? After all, you didn’t get a dog to force you to replant your perennials. Keeping your dog entertained and happy takes some planning, but is generally much less work than repairing the damage a bored dog can do. In this series, we’ll review some good ways to add exercise and enrichment to your dog’s day to help fight your dog’s boredom and make him a better companion.
The amount of exercise a dog needs varies widely depending on health, size, age, and breed, but 30 minutes daily is a minimum for most dogs. 60-90 minutes is likely to be the minimum amount for a young, healthy dog from the working, hunting or herding groups. Many dogs who get less exercise than this are likely to exhibit a variety of obnoxious behaviors (my own generally quiet dogs start barking at every little noise if they’ve had more than one or two low exercise days, which sure motivates me to get more exercise into their routines!) Walking isn’t the only exercise though; some dogs would prefer to chase a toy or catch a frisbee. Swimming is an excellent low impact exercise. And the exercise doesn’t need to be done all at once, several short sessions usually work better than one long one.
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that running your dog hard or playing fetch for an hour will tire your dog out and solve all your problems. Exercise is required to keep your dog healthy and blow off some steam, but getting your dog ramped up regularly may simply be getting her into better physical shape, building her stamina and maintaining an aroused frame of mind. If your dog gets obsessed with certain games, or over the top excited by games or situations, then that is probably not the best exercise for her. So yes, exercise daily, but be cautious about repetitive exercises that can lead to injury and monitor your dog’s excitement level. Ideally, choose exercise that allows your dog to get moving and gets their tongue hanging out without them becoming frantic or out of control.
In our next post, we’ll talk about using Training as a cure for boredom.
Have you used exercise to stave off boredom in your pet? Tell us about it, below!