Do Dogs Get Bored? And How-To Keep Your Dog Busy

Do dogs get bored dog looking out the window

You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered, “Is my dog bored?” Many dog owners miss their dog’s hint that their dog needs more mental stimulation and attention. The answer to “Do dogs get bored?” is a resounding “YES!” Dogs are intelligent creatures that need mental stimulation and engagement to stave off boredom. 

If you suspect your dog has been trying to tell you they are suffering from boredom, this article is here to help. We will cover the signs of dog boredom, how boredom can affect your dog’s health and wellbeing, and give you some tips to keep your canine companion’s ears perked and tail wagging.

Why Do Dogs Get Bored?

All it takes is a glance at the hardwiring of a dog to understand why many dogs get bored. The short explanation is your dog’s domesticated life is very different from the life they would have had just a few short centuries ago.

If that brief explanation didn’t do it for you, here’s the full answer.

Dogs Genetically Need Tasks & Attention

Dogs are naturally social creatures. This is the result of their genetics. First, dogs frequently have what’s often referred to as “William’s syndrome” [1]. William’s syndrome, or “I love you so, so, so much!” syndrome, is the result of two genes that make dogs exceptionally friendly. Most scientists suspect years of selective breeding led to today’s dogs being outgoing and extremely social. In other words, your dog’s genes make your dog need to play and interact with you and other humans.

In addition to having a naturally social disposition, dogs also have a natural and long-bred behavioural genetic inclination to collaborate, work, and hunt.

Socialization Was Passed Down from Wolves

If you were to observe a pack of dogs in the wild, you would notice that they constantly interact, communicate, and care for one another. This sociability comes from their wolf ancestors, to which your dog’s DNA is almost identical. Wolves in the wild use play and interaction to educate their pups and to pass on hunting techniques over generations [2]. In fact, wolves will remain playful long into old age.

Dogs Learned to Work Alongside People 

Whether these traits are the reason why people domesticated wolves or not will remain a mystery. But, we do know that as wolves transformed into domesticated dogs, they adapted their skills and instincts to perform jobs and tasks. This made capable, energetic, and intelligent dogs invaluable to hunters, shepherds, and farmers. This is why your dog is remarkably smart and feels compelled to stay active and busy. 

Your dog’s inborn prey drive and social nature make them need and want mental stimulation and interaction throughout the day. Additionally, centuries of breeding dogs to work have left most of our companions with the need to stay active.

How Does Boredom Affect Your Dog?

how does boredom affect your dog

While being bored may seem inconsequential, chronic boredom can have negative effects on your dog’s physical and mental health.

Boredom can result in:

  • Destructive behaviour
  • Injury as a result of destructive actions
  • Compulsive nail chewing [3]
  • Excessive scratching
  • Compulsive tail chasing
  • Stress and anxiety [4]
  • Depression [5]
  • Lack of appetite

All of these effects lower your dog’s quality of life. 

How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Bored?

Your dog may not be able to tell you directly when they’re feeling bored, but your dog will show signs that they need more mental and physical stimulation. While not all dogs exhibit identical signs of boredom, most show common behaviours that signal that it’s time to increase your dog’s mental activity.



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