Dogs are a lot like children in the sense that they enjoy being entertained during the day. Long walks through the woods, playing fetch in the backyard, and sniffs in the dog park. But what happens when you humans have to leave for work? Your dog gets bored.
Signs that your dog may be bored include:
- Generally destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Trash scattered across the floor
- Chewing everything but their toys
- Turning into escape artists
- An overly excited greeting when you return home
Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.
Does My Dog Get Bored At Home Alone All Day?
Of course dogs get bored at home alone all day!
Let me ask you this. Would you get bored sitting on the couch for 8-12 hours every day while you wait on your favorite human to return home to you?
Of course you would!
Which is why dogs may have a tendency to act out when they are bored with no pre physical activity or mental stimulation set in place to distract or wear them out for the long haul.
You have to understand that your dog is not acting out just because they think it’s funny or because they’re mad at you. They’re acting out because they’re….bored and need somewhere to funnel and focus that energy.
Top 5 Signs Your Dog Is Bored
The very fact that you Googled this search topic means that you have noticed your dog looking a bit lethargic, sleeping a lot, or acting out while you’re at work.
Sleeping a lot can actually mean the opposite of boredom. I’ll link the article I wrote on the importance of pupper sleep right here in case you’re interested.
On the flipside, there are a handful of (tail) tells your dog is showing you as a direct result of boredom.
Watch Out for These Signs
Is your dog showing signs of destructive behavior?
When your dog gets bored during they day they will find ways to calm their mind. More often than not, these ways result in the destruction of your things.
Dogs need to chew – especially a bored dog.
The thing is though, they’re not picky when it comes down to it. Old sock? Cool. Leg of a dining room table? Cool. The sheer aesthetics of the “chew toy” doesn’t necessarily matter to your dog.
Boredom brings out the chewer in all dogs.
Is your dog excessively barking during the day?
Have you received the not so upbeat text from your neighbor on the 4th floor complaining about your dog barking nonstop yet?
And you can’t for the life of you figure out why your good boy can’t settle down? Here’s a hint: HE’S BORED.
Have you come home to find an entire bag of trash meticulously scattered all across the floor?
Is your dog chewing everything in your house except for their chew toys?
Dogs are natural chewers which is a wonderful pastime, IF they’re not chewing on your new pair of shoes. For dogs, chewing is great fun.
While this can easily be an age thing – as puppies chew for teething purposes – it can spread across all breeds and ages if the dog is left alone for long bouts of time.
A bored dog can easily become a destructive dog.
Is your dog overly excited when you get home?
This can be a direct response to the anxiety and boredom felt by your absence during the day. Obviously we’re going to be happy to see you when you get back home, but if your dog is a bit over the top, take note. This is a sign of boredom.
This is what pent up energy looks like when it’s erupted all over their favorite human. Are they ignoring your commands, sprinting around in circles, parkouring off of the side of the couch?
Don’t ignore this behavior.
Pay close attention to the signs but don’t let them worry you either. There are actions you can take to help with your dog’s boredom throughout the day.
What Can You Do About a Bored Dog?
The overall goal with this is to successfully channel your dogs boredom into stimulating and cognitive activity.
By taking early morning walks, buying puzzle games, swapping out old toys for new ones on a regular basis, and continuously training your dog will all warrant a more focused mentality.
Let’s look into those a bit deeper.
Early morning walks will work to stimulate both the physical and mental receptors of your dog. Walking longer distances on a daily basis (before you leave for work) will not only support the overall health of your dog but will facilitate any unwarranted behavior during the day.
Puzzle games are an excellent way to reward you dog while simultaneously dictating their time spent in the most constructive way possible. Mental stimulation is the antidote to boredom. While games keep your dog’s mind busy throughout the day, it also tires them out physically. Win / win!
Swapping out old toys for new ones plays along the same lines as puzzle games – mentally speaking. Dogs love to explore and discover new toys. It’s exciting for us and keeps us engaged for prolonged periods of time. Perfect for those long days while our humans are at work.
Continuous dog training will make us smarter. Dogs who are conceptually smarter have a greater understanding and awareness thus allowing them to comprehend a work day better than less trained pups. Along with a heightened awareness comes a more focused mentality. This means less destructive behavior and less all around boredom in general.
We get it. You have to work to make money to keep a shelter over our heads, blah, blah, blah,
It’s just not always the “funnest” without you at home with us. I hope you will begin to take actions to ease the boredom your pup endures throughout the day.
These are simple actions that carry a lot of impactful weight.
But as always, humans, continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often!
Love you guys,
P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.
This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.