How to Keep Your Pets From Being Bored
If you've had a pet for any time, there's a good chance you've had a bored dog or cat wreaking havoc on your family. Maybe you had a cat who liked to knock things off of shelves (the noisier, the better) or a dog who chose to dig his way to Europe in several locations across the backyard. Your pet is bored with excessive barking, tail chasing, furniture chewing, and unrolling and shredding toilet paper.
Pets, like people, require regular physical and mental stimulation. Assume they don't have enough outlets to satisfy their curiosity or instinctive desire to move, "hunt," and find food. In that situation, inappropriate behaviors are a means for them to communicate that they require more of your time, attention, and activities to keep them occupied when otherwise unavailable. Despite being domesticated, dogs and cats still desire to engage in species-specific activities that would take up a considerable portion of their day in the wild, such as hunting or seeking safe places to sleep.
Food puzzles allow dogs and cats to interact with their "prey" throughout the day and stay occupied in a non-destructive way, which is often recommended by veterinarians to assist satisfy the hunting need. Dog food puzzles are made to gradually release treats or dry food as he interacts with them. This can keep your dog busy for 15 minutes or more, both physically and mentally.
Cats enjoy food puzzles, but they take some time to become used to them. Their food may need to be progressively added to the problems. For example, you might need to place two-thirds of their dry food in their food bowl and a third in two different puzzle toys.
You can relocate the toys around the house as they get used to getting rewarded for playing with them to make the "hunt" interesting and entertaining. Domestic cats frequently respond well to three to five smaller meals throughout the day, two of which can be delivered in food puzzles, while wild cats can spend up to 40% of their day looking for food.
If you have any pets, try dispersing toys in different rooms or levels throughout the house. Try it the first few times you're home to arbitrate any arguments that arise until they've gotten used to the new "hide and seek" routine.
The ability to move is crucial.
Daily walks are one of the most effective strategies to combat boredom in dogs while also getting your steps in. Dogs who go for at least one walk a day are frequently calmer and less disruptive at home when you're gone. Movement is beneficial to cats, and they enjoy chasing toys on a stick.
In addition, many cats will play fetch with some of their favorite toys spontaneously. Cat trees and ledges also encourage cats to get some exercise during the day.
Take your pets to a new dog park or on a walk outside of their neighborhood to mix things up. Play with your bored cat for a few days with a new toy, then conceal it from them for a few weeks so they don't get tired of it.
More training, more training, more training, more training, more training, more training, more training,
Most pets require work, which is especially true of working dog breeds. That's why certain border collies are obsessed with a particular toy, and some cats can't seem to quit scratching at furniture.
Giving dogs a predictable routine and a variety of activities helps them associate being a "good boy" with enjoyable activities. Clicker training and positive reinforcement training make training for bored pets exciting and gratifying, and you'll be surprised at how much they can learn in just two or three 10-minute sessions.
Diversion is the most effective training approach for cats. Redirect a cat who is scratching furniture to a scratching post. If they prefer to climb on the counters, provide them with solely their perch (and preferably higher). Eventually, they'll figure out what you do and what you don't want them to do.
Additionally, placing cat grass near their feeding station is a terrific way to give them the sensation of being outside while also keeping them active. Treasure hunts with hidden treats around your house can also be used to reinforce and encourage positive behavior.
Mental stimulation using a scratching post for cats
Beyond "sit" and "stay," this may mean a more nuanced dog command. When asked, teach them to "shake" or find a certain object.
Additionally, if you run or bike with your dog, they must pay attention to you and their motions, providing mental and physical stimulation. Install a bird feeder in the yard just outside a window where cats can readily see out for cats. They can be mentally entertained for hours by watching birds come and leave.