Puppies require lots of attention or activities to prevent boredom; a bored puppy will exhibit destructive behavior. A few simple tips can create a happier relationship.
Puppies are naturally interested in the new world around them – the first experience of a new smell, taste, or touch of an object is highly stimulating to a puppy. However, puppies can easily become bored if they are deprived of stimulation or attention; a bored puppy will often turn into a destructive puppy if left unattended for a long period of time.
Why a Puppy Becomes Bored
A puppy may become bored for a number of reasons:
- A puppy is a social creature who enjoys the company of another dog, animal, or person; a puppy left alone for a long period of time will become bored
- A puppy requires plenty of exercise; confined to the house all day is not an ideal situation for a puppy
- A puppy enjoys meeting new people and new dogs; a puppy who is denied access to socialization with other people or dogs will also become bored
- A puppy enjoys playing with toys; a puppy without toys will become bored.
What a Bored Puppy Will Do
A bored puppy will exhibit various behavior patterns:
- A bored puppy may become destructive and destroy furniture or anything else which is within the puppy’s reach
- A bored puppy (particularly a male puppy who has not been neutered) may mark his territory in the house, even if the puppy has been potty-trained
- A bored puppy may exhibit other ‘bad’ behavior simply to get attention
- A bored puppy may even become depressed; the puppy may stop eating, become lethargic or withdrawn.
Tips to Prevent Puppy Boredom
To stop a puppy from becoming bored and exhibiting destructive behavior is easy with a few simple tips; puppies become bored much in the same way as people do.
To prevent boredom in a puppy:
- Make sure the puppy has plenty of toys to stimulate his/her interest. Dogs have a good sense of hearing (greater than human hearing) and enjoy squeaky toys; also, make sure the toy is ‘puppy proof’; in other words, it doesn’t have things that can be chewed off and swallowed by the puppy. Interactive toys are especially helpful.
- Make a puppy ‘work’ at obtaining treats by introducing a Kong toy; a Kong toy allows treats to be stored inside the ball/bone/toy, and the puppy has to work at getting the treats out, thus stimulating more interest in the toy.
- If the puppy has to be left alone, make sure the puppy has been exercised before leaving the house; a tired puppy is more likely to sleep and not notice the absence of others so much. Young puppies may feel more secure with a snuggle puppy if left alone.
- Socialize the puppy on walks where a lot of other dogs frequent, such as dog beaches, dog parks, and community areas (providing the puppy has had all relevant vaccines). The puppy will also learn how to behave around other dogs and people, in addition to not being bored.
- If you know someone with a friendly dog, invite them over for a playdate with your dog.
- Spend some quality ‘me’ time with the puppy; give 15 minutes or more each day, which involves activities solely with the puppy. The puppy will learn, whatever else is going on during the day, he/she can look forward to some ‘me’ time.
- When at home, spend time with the puppy, even if the family is watching TV; including the puppy in activities, passive or active, will help him/her feel loved and part of the ‘pack.’
- Bullysticks and other chewies are must-haves for a puppy. Puppies really need to chew and these will keep your pup entertained for hours.
How to Have a Happy Puppy
If a puppy is loved, socialized, and given attention at the appropriate times, it is more likely that the puppy will not become bored and destructive; a puppy also has to learn that there are times that he/she will be left alone but, by following a few simple tips, a happier and healthier relationship should develop between puppy and owner.