Boredom Busters for Dogs

Could your dog be bored? It is not uncommon for dogs to be left at home alone for long stretches of time during the day while you are at work or running errands. Without anything to occupy them, your pooch may find themselves in mischief to stay entertained.

Signs of boredom can include:

  • Digging, chewing or other destructive behaviours
  • Getting into garbage bins
  • Barking and whining
  • Following you around when you are at home

Exercise Body and Mind

Most of us know that dogs need plenty of physical activity to keep them happy and healthy. However, it's not just the physical exercise that is beneficial; the act of venturing out with a pack member (you or your family) and experiencing different smells is beneficial for their mental stimulation.

Walk regularly - It is important for your dog's wellbeing to include regular exercise in their routine, and different dog breeds have different exercise requirements. Working breeds such as Border Collies require as much as 2 hours of high intensity exercise every day, whereas some other 'couch potato' breeds only really need shorter, gentle walks. Plus, older dogs may need lower intensity exercise to look after their aging joints.

Let them sniff about - walking or running is great, but to help enrich your dog's experience and further reduce boredom, it can help to pause and let your dog sniff around. While you don't want your dog to dictate how often you might stop on a walk (as this can be a sign of dominance over you), it might help to invest in an extendable lead or trialing off leash if safe to do so.

Let them interact with other dogs - only if your dog is dog-friendly, of course. Meeting and playing with other dogs will provide your pooch with a whole array of stimulating sights, smells, and experiences - and not to mention, excellent cardio exercise! Socialising helps improve a dog's whole overall emotional wellbeing and can help reduce anxiety. Dog friendly parks and beaches are perfect for this, or you might even like to consider a doggy playgroup or daycare centre.

Mind Games

As well as keeping your dog physically active, there are things that you can do to keep them mentally occupied while you are away.

Puzzle Toys

There are heaps of interactive toys, some which dispense treats or encourage your dog to work for their food, which can help keep your dog's mind active. A great way to make use of treat-dispensing toys is to fill them with all or part of your dog's breakfast before you head off for work. This will keep your dog occupied when they would otherwise be worried about you leaving.

The Gigwi Hide And Seek Pet Droid can help train your dog's memory and logic, by releasing food after your dog pushes down on a button.


Kongs are another easy way to keep your dog occupied. You can fill them with specially designed treats like ziggies or even just plain old peanut butter. Dogs can spend hours trying to get to the last morsel of filling!

Treasure Hunt

Explorative feeding is a fantastic way to excite and mentally stimulate your dog. Try hiding some of your dog's food or some treats in different places around the house or backyard. Sniffing out their next meal will keep them busy and occupied while you are away.

Long Lasting Treats

Long lasting chewy treats are great to keep your pet occupied when they're alone. Fresh raw bones are good, as are treats such as Goat Horn, Venison Hoof Chews, or ear chews.

Lots of problem behaviours can be avoided by providing your dog with something to do while you are away. Make sure that you mix it up with different toys and games to keep their mind working!


Posted by Dr Carla Paszkowski

Dr Carla is one of our resident veterinarians. With experience in general veterinary practices, Carla has a special passion for pet nutrition, feline medicine, and exotic pets. When she isn't talking pet care at Pet Circle, she enjoys plays mum to one very smoochy, cross-eyed ragdoll cat named Smudge.

Carla suggests to read:

How to choose the right dog breed for you ▶

Find the best toy for your big dog ▶

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