While you may be tempted to think that your aging dog is content to kick back more and interact less, the reality is they need more engagement to stimulate their body and mind. In fact, too much boredom in senior dogs has been proven to cause depression, apathy, and anxiety. It may also contribute to destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, barking, and aggression.
Just like humans, dogs need physical and mental stimulation to remain happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. Although they might have lost their ability to participate in vigorous activities like they used to, it is still vital that they don’t lie all day to get up only for a meal or bath, as this will be disastrous to their health and overall wellbeing.
Fortunately, there are plenty of activities you can introduce to your aging dog to relieve them of boredom.
Take your dog on stimulating walks
Long walks provide an opportunity for your pup to interact with people, other dogs, and the environment. They are also effective in relieving stress and providing physical and mental stimulation that is essential in keeping your dog sharp and invigorated. You are also sure to see a reduction in destructive behavior after a walk since your dog has used up the extra energy more meaningfully.
Typically, boredom is often a result of being stuck in the same place for too long and having minimal interactions. To avoid it, make a habit of walking your pet for at least an hour every day. Not only will you be preventing boredom, but you will also be helping them exercise to keep them physically and mentally fit.
Engage in training sessions
Offering regular training sessions for your aging dog is a sure way to keep their brain and body active. It is also an excellent time to bond and strengthen your relationship. Some effective training methods for a senior dog may include;
Obedience training – Obedience training helps to stimulate the mind as well as instill manners in your dog. You can practice popular commands at home and during your regular walks.
Tricks training – Teach your dog some new tricks to keep them active and excited. Switch between ‘rollover,’ ‘play dead,’ ‘shake,’ ‘bow,’ and any other trick you think would stimulate your dog.
Agility training – This is an effective way to challenge your dog and to stimulate both mind and body. Try tunnels, weave poles, and jumps, or even join an agility club to learn a few tricks from a professional.
Use dog puzzles and interactive toys
Puzzles and toys are suitable for stimulating the mind and helping your dog learn and develop. Most toys involve the dog solving a problem to access a reward such as a food treat. Depending on your dog’s ability to solve a puzzle, you can choose simple or more complex interactive toys and puzzles.
Introducing toys for your aging pet is a viable way to reduce excess energy that they might otherwise use for destructive activities. It is also a good way to engage your pet when outdoor activities are not an option.
Keep them entertained even when you are not home
Dogs are social animals, and when left alone, they can get bored and start tearing pillows and scratching things in the house. To keep them from making mischief, consider taking them for a walk before leaving the house. You can even hire a professional dog walker if you plan to be gone for a while.
Another way to keep your pup entertained is to get them a Kong-a rubber chew toy that you can smear with peanut butter to keep your dog busy. Hiding treats around the house can also help to keep the dog busy and fed at the same time.
Schedule regular dog playdates
Playdates can offer your dog the ideal environment to socialize with mates, which helps to keep their socializing skills intact. It also allows them to burn the extra fat and ensure they remain healthy and free of diseases. If your dog is not a fan of playdates, as is the case with most old dogs, a walk in the park can be equally helpful in keeping them engaged.
Ensuring your aging dog is part of life’s activities can help them to alleviate boredom as well as keep them healthy and energetic. So, do not let your pup sleep too much or exercise less often, as they might become depressed or develop destructive tendencies.
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