Baby It's Cold Outside ... And I'm Bored In Here!

Beating Your Pup's Boredom Blues

by Vanessa Davis // January - February - March 2017

Are there times when you just want to sit in front of the fire with a cup of tea and enjoy a little quiet time? Well, our pets are just the opposite – they get bored easily … and a bored pet many times turns into a naughty pet. Boredom leads to excessive barking, digging, chewing, pacing, and many other destructive behaviors.

Now that Ol’ Man Winter has arrived and brought with him cold, windy, and wet weather, chances are Rover or Rosie will be spending more time indoors, so here are 10 fun ways to keep them busy and entertained when they can’t go outside to play.

1. Keep him or her busy with an interactive toy – for instance, one inside which you hide the treats and your pet has to work to find it behind one of the “doors,” or provide a toy that makes noise or flashes when bumped or rolled.

2. Play hide and seek with your pet. Start off with having him guess which hand a treat is in, then run and hide in another room and see if he can find you (and the coveted treat).

3. Tug of war is always fun for pets, as it is both mentally and physically challenging. If you don’t have a tug toy, you can simply use an old t-shirt or towel – as long as he can tug, your pup will be happy.

4. Arrange a play date for your dog. Get to know neighborhood dogs and have one over for a puppy playdate.

5. Teach your dog a new trick. Work on teaching him to “roll over,” “say his prayers,” “shake hands,” etc.

6. Use a Kong to keep your furry friend busy by filling it with food items such as peanut butter or canned dog food ... this will keep him or her occupied for quite some time.

7. Make a frozen treat for your pet – hide a special treat inside a large ice cube for your dog to lick or take a small plastic bowl filled halfway with water, and put a treat in the center. Let it freeze and you have a fun treat to pass the time.

8. Alternate your pet’s toys. Just like kids, animals get tired of playing with the same toys over and over. Leave only a few out at a time and switch them up regularly to keep your pet’s interest in them piqued.

9. Give your pet a good belly rub or massage. Most dog’s love petting of any kind, but a good belly rub seems to bring about a special kind of bliss. Plus, he or she will really enjoy the time spent with you.

10. Give him or her a nice view of the outdoors. Your pup will love the special place in the sun to nap and view on a cold indoor day.

Dogs are not meant to just lay around and sleep all day ... they need something to do and occupy their minds. If they don’t have that, they tend to become frustrated and bored, possibly leading to undesirable behaviors. But thankfully there are many ways to entertain a bored pet, this winter and all year long. How creative can you be?

Vanessa Davis

Owner of Dirty Dogs Spa located at 929 Heritage Lake Rd. in Wake Forest.