Many times, bad dog behavior–furniture chewing, barking, self-mutilation–may be traced back to boredom. It’s true: dogs are never bored long. But how they occupy their time while you’re gone is up to you. Of course, no dog caretaker wants his pet ruining his home, annoying neighbors and harming himself. Fortunately, you have other options.
Give your dog plenty of exercise to expend his pent-up energy. Some owners think they’re exercising their dogs by turning them loose in the backyard, but find their dog sitting on the deck. If that’s like your dog, clip a leash on his collar and take a brisk, 30-minute walk twice a day, minimum (in addition to “potty” times). Vary the route for more interest. Dog walking is also good for your health, too.
If you have a fenced yard, play fetch or Frisbee with him. Most dogs enjoy catching and retrieving “prey” for you.
Provide more socialization. Dogs like to meet other dogs. Occasional trips to a dog park can help keep life interesting for your dog. Watch what equipment your dog seems to like, such as a barrel “tunnel” to explore. Perhaps you could set some up similar equipment in your yard. Place different toys inside and move them around periodically.
Stimulate your dog with activities. Dogs like to have a job, but modern life is too cushy–and boring–for most dogs. Teaching him new commands and skills gives him something more to think about. For instance, could your dog learn to complete an agility course? Could your larger dog skijor with you?
Get some new toys. Lots of new toys–enough so every room in your home has about five toys of various sorts. Rotate them so he has a new supply every few days and examine them for signs of wear so he stays safe. “Freshen” old favorites by popping a treat inside a hollow toy or dabbing a little peanut butter in a hard-to-lick spot.
Hire a pet sitter if you work long days. Breaking up his day with a friendly visit can help prevent bad behavior.
If these tactics don’t halt unwanted behavior, ask your veterinarian or a pet behaviorist for help. Your pet may have a physical or mental health problem that requires professional help.
by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming and more. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away. Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation for pet care or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com.