Fur-babies can get bored easily, but how do you know if they are bored or just relaxing?
Firstly, you need to figure out WHY they are barking. Is it boredom? Do they have pent up energy? Are they calling out to other dogs? Do they smell danger (like smoke?) Are they lonely? Depending on the breed of dog you own will determine different levels of activity each day and types of stimulation to stay mentally occupied, so let’s explore things you can try to stop a dog barking.
Signs your Dog might be bored
Two of the most common signs of boredom in a dog are, or
1. Destruction (they are tearing the place apart)
2. Barking (the dog is not engaging with their environment)
If a dog is in good health and is sleeping more than usual they may be bored, but if they are tearing apart the couch, excessively barking or even humping objects, they are definitely bored. Justin Jordan from Jordan Dog Training agrees chewing and destructive can be a sign of bored. The RSPCA advises both inside and outside dogs can be prone to boredom, even if they have a big yard.
“For many confident dogs, time outside the yard provides much needed mental stimulation (a variety of sights, smells and sounds); even dogs in the biggest yards can become bored if not taken out regularly,” RSPCA said. Whichever behaviour your dog displays to express their boredom it is important to redirect their negative behaviours rather than punishing them.
Barking Dog Solutions
1. Book them into a Regular Program of Dog Walks
One of the ways to combat a bored dog involves their favourite four letter word, W-A-L-K. Taking a dog for a walk is one of the easiest ways to combat their bored. Jordan says a dog should be taken for a walk at least once a day. Breeds such as Airedale Terriers need to be taken for a walk for 2 hours every day. “Dogs, like all of us, need exercise to stimulate their minds and it also takes away the boredom of hanging around in the yard all day,” he said. If you don't have the time to exercise your dog, then book a dog walker. Dog's brains operate like ours when it comes to exercise and happiness. The endorphines and serotonin produced from exercise will make them happier and their muscles, relaxed.
2. Book them into a regular program of Doggy Day Care
Doggy day care is a fantastic way to give you pet social interaction with other peoples and pets while you are at work and can help reduce separation anxiety and loneliness. As well as keeping your dog entertained, it can improve their social skills and adaptability. Your dog's need for regular socialisation just as important as humans.
3. Start Reward based Training
Positive reinforcement training is a great way to physically and mentally stimulate a dog. Jordan recommends giving your dog some basic training each and every day for about 10 minutes because dogs, like children, need education.
“Every interaction with your dog is an opportunity to train you dog,” he said. “Some helpful and easy commands to consider ae name recognition, sit, drop, come, shake, leave and mat training.”
4. Provide Toys they have to work for
Enrichment toys and activities are involve a dog having to manipulate or move an object and can be done without interact with a person. The RSPCA recommends Kong’s are enjoyed by most dogs and provide a challenge and good chewing experience.
“It is important to rotate the toys on a regular basis so that your dog does not become bored,” the RSPCA said. Why not have a toy box and switch up which toys your dog as access to each day.
5. Ditch the food bowl
Dogs are natural scavengers so rather than serving food in a bowl keep a dog entertained with a foraging activity will teach them to work for their food.
Whether food is hidden in kibble treat balls or rubber kongs, frozen in an ice block or hidden around the yard/house this will stimulate your dog to get to their food and give them a tasty snack.
You can purchase toys that will release the food on a timer or they have to push are to release food, or make your own toys with plastic bottles or boxes.
RSPCA School for Dogs recommends using food to entertain an easy way to make at home enrichment toys with food. “Take some old rags or towels (that you don’t mind being ripped or dirtied), tie together into large knots and place dry treats inside the knots,”.
6. Create a Visual Barrier
Dogs who are acting territorial about their yard may see or hear other dogs, which may be triggering them to bark. Blocking out gaps between fence palings is worth trying.
7. Try Raw Meaty Bones
Meaty raw beef bones are great for keeping dogs teeth clean, but also great for keeping them occupied.
8. Seek Vet Advice
If you have tried all these options, we recommend being proactive and seeking Vet Advice as they might recommend some alternate options
PetCloud is free to join: Post a Job, get cost estimates, contact insured dog walking professionals, and even book the job—all on PetCloud.