It's hard enough trying to figure out what's going on in other people's heads - and we're the same species!
There's an added level of difficulty in trying to interpret what our dogs are feeling. However, for dog owners willing to pay close attention, our dogs have their own unmistakable ways of communicating to us what's on their minds, especially when it comes to feeling bored.
"Boredom can cause dogs to exhibit destructive behavior such as chewing inappropriate items, digging or excessive barking for attention," says dog trainer Diane Silver. In much the same way humans have individual ways of expressing boredom, "Each dog may exhibit boredom in [its] own personal way."
As winter approaches, the slower pace of winter days and more time spent inside due to inclement weather can contribute to boredom. Silver suggests paying close attention to your dog's behavior when the temperature drops.
"Just like with people, dogs can get cabin fever. And if they are getting less exercise than normal due to bad weather, boredom can set in, resulting in unwanted behaviors."
One way to monitor your dog's state of mind when you're not at home is to set up a pet monitor so you can look in on him or her remotely. Pet lifestyle expert Sandy Robins notes, "Often dogs left alone are bored, and that's when they get up to mischief such as nosing in the trash and chewing the cushions on the couch." Setting up a pet monitor allows you to see what your dog is up to in real time.
Regardless of whether you're hanging out at home with your dog or watching his activity on a monitor from the office, you can keep an eye out for some of these telltale signs of boredom.
According to Robbins:
"Signs of boredom (which is often exacerbated by anxiety) include pacing up and down and incessant barking. Some dogs will even attempt to escape by scratching the back of a door or pulling down a blind. Physical signs can also include chasing their own tail and even chewing on their feet."
Even though some of these behaviors might seem comical, boredom is no laughing matter. It's a very real indication that you need to take steps to enrich your dog's environment and increase his daily exercise and stimulation.
"Keep dogs stimulated with indoor interactive toys and games and try to keep up with their exercise routines even in inclement weather...The results will be satisfying for both you AND your dogs!" says Silver.
For more tips on staying healthy and active with your dog in every season, check out Diane Silver's blog, To Dog With Love.
How do you keep your dog active and engaged? Tell us in the comments section!
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