It happens to the best of us and isn't choosey about who!
Limited exposure to sunlight, more time indoors, and the same old routine will begin to wear on your best friend just as much as it does you. Some of us can manage it better than others, but cabin fever gets to us all at some point and that includes dogs.
You might not notice the warning signs, the behavior that says, “I’m just not happy”, but it’s pretty hard to miss the effects of pent up energy and boredom:
Stop Boredom Before It Starts!
Our dogs - if left to themselves - will engage in normal, natural activities that include chewing, tearing, chasing, digging, barking…by enriching their lives with physical and mental stimulation, we can redirect these behaviors in our homes and yards. Animal behaviorists admonish that prevention is the key, so here are some boredom blasters that will help pup and dog alike.
1. Go Outside
Yes, it’s cold, yes, it’s winter, but natural sunlight and fresh air will do wonders for both your dog and you. Obviously, stay away from extreme temperatures, but a good romp in the snow, a brisk walk (see our article on protecting paw pads), or a good game of fetch will get blood moving and release pent up energy.
2. Don't Just Play More - Play Smart
Playing with your dog doesn’t mean you have to wear yourself out or provide entertainment all day, every day - instead, here are some “smarter” ways to play and challenge your dog.
3. Grooming Session
Sometimes all your dog needs is a little TLC. Spend some time grooming - a fresh coat and a good stiff rubdown can be invigorating, not to mention the one-on-one time spent with you. :)
4. Change Your Routine
A common cause of cabin fever and boredom with dogs is repetitious routine and behavior. Change it up! While a routine is great and healthy for both you and your dog - switch it up a little. For example: take a different route on your walk, place the toys in a new area, do a spontaneous training minute...
Just keep in mind that routine is not the enemy, boredom is. Make small changes, don't try anything drastic that might cause stress instead of interest. You know your dog better than anyone else and you will be the best judge of what "busts up" their boredom.
Maintaining an active and engaged lifestyle for your dog is important for both their well being and yours (not to mention the house and your favorite chair!). Using these simple, but effective tools, you can prevent boredom before it starts and ultimately encourage better behavior from your dog.
Our motto? "A tired puppy is a happy puppy" and this goes for adult dogs too!