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Many dogs get bored, some more easily than others.

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: There are many dogs that require a high level of mental stimulation in addition to physical exercise. These are dogs with “high arousal levels”. They direct their lack of ability to do nothing into behaviours that are generally very annoying for the human carers to deal with.

The dogs may pace around a great deal. I remember one dog obviously had been tied on a rope around a clothes hoist. This was taken away when the dog became older. But the dog had learned to run in circles around the clothes hoist and was quite amenable to taking himself out for a run in circles around the clothes hoist when he needed some physical activity.

Dog Tied in Street Tied up and No choices

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : So what are the signs or a bored dog, especially a high energy bored dog?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: A dog that cannot relax or lie down peacefully for more than 10 minutes, or a dog that barks incessantly, or a dog that drops the ball at your feet every 5 minutes, or a dog that paces or whines for seemingly no reason, or a dog that is a very destructive chewer, or a dog that is reactive on-leash towards other dogs and/or people . . . there are many, many, many behaviours that manifest out of a need for mental stimulation, (in addition to physical stimulation).  

Border on Alert Keen and full of energy - the Collie

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : I have a friend who has a Border Collie. The animal behaves as if driven by a motor, constantly in motion and constantly seeking activities and things to do. The problem is not just exercise. The problem is allowing the dog to have mental stimulation as well.

High energy and high drive dogs that are usually over-exercised physically or under stimulated mentally, or both, tend to be the hardest dogs to live with.

2 Dogs Playing Shared exercise

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : A 2nd Dog - to give your dog mental stimulation?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: A 2nd dog can do wonders to your dogs’ ability to cope with boredom. Greyhounds are dogs which generally are quite content to lie around the house a great deal. However, I remember seeing a pair of greyhounds running at the beach. They ran at an incredible rate and interacted to an extent chasing and running after each other that no human could possibly replicate.

If you are not interested or able to have a 2nd dog, arranging play dates with other dogs in the neighbourhood can be quite effective as well. This can be as simple as arranging drop-off times with the neighbours for your dog or their dog at each other’s properties on specific days. It can work for both. It can be a share the care program too if you work - and allows your dog to be looked after by a human and a doggie friend rather than being forced to fend for themselves.

2 Dogs Playing and Running

Running and Chasing with a friend

Exposing your dog to new people and places is an important part of socialisation and gives a lot of mental stimulation as well. Most dogs love nose work games, playing outdoors, and taking a trip to local beach or lake or off- leash park.

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Activities? :


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Use a Kiddie Pool or Take a Trip to the Lake

A lot of dogs naturally love water; on a summer day these dogs will love just splashing around and wading in a shallow pool. If you live by a dog friendly beach or lake even better. Many dogs love a good swim – not just Labradors.

Dog In Kiddie Pool The backyard Kiddie Pool. The water grows algae quite quickly in suburbia- so replace with fresh water often or chlorinate.



Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Feed your dog out of a food puzzle for at least 1 meal a day. Dog Kongs are an excellent way to keep your dog mentally stimulated to get their food. Some dog authorities recommend adding a doggie probiotic to the dog’s food as they believe improving the dogs gut health may actually help the dogs’ behavioural quirks as well.

Incorporate some enrichment toys and activities for your dog to do.

Do not start tossing activity after activity after activity - at him. Remember we are teaching him to chill when we want but also providing adequate mental stimulation in order to work his brain.




Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : So How Does walking the dog fit in?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: If you've been working on the above things and you feel confident in your new pooch and her ability to chill when needed, you can now take her out for a walk. There are rules though. The walk can be no more than 15 minutes long and should be a walk where you incorporate some training and good ole doggie sniffing. Do not go over 15 minutes! Sniffing is a critically important exercise for dog and provides a lot of mental stimulation.

2 Dogs Walking

Sniffing for Acquaintance



Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Keep Walks Unpredictable to Keep Your Dogs Attention

Incorporate something unpredictable and fun into your walk. Change your pace, switch directions. Praise your dog as they follow your lead. Daily walks can get a little mundane if you’re going the same route every day. Switch it up by exploring new neighbourhoods and changing your pace. Allowing your dog to smell their surroundings adds mental stimulation. They’re not just visual creatures – they learn a lot from all those interesting smells. Giving them the opportunity to sniff around adds a lot of great mental stimulation

Perhaps bring a tug toy along on walks. It’s a nice quick way to hold the dog’s attention & keep them focused on you.

This will help build their interest in what you’re doing rather than focusing on what may possibly lie ahead. If your dog doesn’t give you a lot of attention on your walks , this is a great exercise to gain their interest and focus, it’ll also make your future training sessions easier.

Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou : Other Dog Walk Hints?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus:
Teach Your Dog to Target You

Teach your dog to touch or target you with a specific cue. Some trainers suggest a phrase such as “touch” as you put out your right hand.

When you see something up ahead that you would like to avoid, start to walk backwards and say “touch.” The dog may not know why you are suddenly walking backwards, but usually will gladly turn around and comes running back to you. It is important to reward this behaviour highly – both in terms of treats and praise.


Dogs Fighting Fighting



Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Avoid What Cannot Be Won

If you ever find yourself unsure about a certain situation just avoid it – especially if you’re not sure you can manage your dog.

Avoidance is just a way to keep things under control when you’re not feeling confident about confronting the situation. Safety should always be on your mind when you’re walking a reactive dog; if you don’t feel like you can handle the situation it’s best to avoid it.

You can also use things such as parked cars or bushes to create a barrier between your dog and the trigger (e.g. other dog). You can also just sit and tell your dog to stay until the other dog has passed. Not all battles are worth fighting.

Front Harness on Dog On a front harness lead:
what many dog people are recommending these days



Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Use a Dog Backpack or Front Clip Harness

I recommend using a front clip harness for any dog because they’re great at teaching a dog to walk nicely on leash. To keep your dog from pulling, buy a harness that clips in the front; when you use a back clip harness it’s actually encouraging your dog to pull more. If you’ve ever had problems getting your dog to walk calmly, a good harness can work wonders.

Other Ways to Relieve Dog Boredom- High mental energy dogs (and / or bored dogs) can be hard to manage.

Front Harness on Dog Front Harness in situ.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Give Your Dog a Nice View

Dogs like to know what’s happening outside so give them a chance to scope out the yard. A lot of dogs love napping in the warm sunlight in front of windows. Of course ,if you have cats they might have to compete for the nice sunny spot.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Give the Something to Chew On

Get some chew Toys, bones, Dental Sticks. Most dogs love chewing, but be sure to keep an eye out for their safety. If their “chews” start to break them into pieces, they become a choking hazard.

Don’t be afraid to overpraise; if your dog is remaining calm while in the sights of another dog, feed her treats like crazy and praise often. There are lots of videos online to demonstrate calming behaviours you can practice when walking with your high mental energy dog. Some dog owners use lots of treats and dog clickers.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Play Some Nose Games with Your Dog

Hiding treats around the house or playing a game of hide and seek with your dog is a fun way to add in some extra mental stimulation to their routine. It’s one of the most versatile games you can teach your dog. Start off with a simple game of ‘guess which hand’ to get them started. It can be played anywhere, with toys or treats you already have.


Dog Tug of War Tug- most dogs love it.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Play Some Tug of War with Your Dog

Tug is a great way to mentally & physically challenge your dog. Short games of tug work wonders for tiring out our canine friends. Minute for minute a nice game of tug is one of the most physically & mentally challenging games you can play. And contrary to myth playing tug of war with your dog will not make him aggressive. If you don’t have a tug toy you can make your own with some fleece or old t-shirts.

Dog Obedience

Obedience training in a  park.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Work on Some Simple Obedience Training

Training your dog any new command gives their brain a workout. A few 10 minute sessions a day working with your dog on new tricks or commands burns a lot of mental energy. Teaching your dog a reliable recall & working on impulse control are some of the important basics to master – it’s always a great starting point. Sit, lay down, shake, stay, and come here are the basic commands to start with.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Give Your Dog a Simple Job

Have them help out with your chores or everyday routines. Dogs can help pick up dog toys, and she’ll carry sticks and logs out to the rubbish bin. Incorporating your dog into everyday tasks can help relieve boredom. It also helps build their confidence; a dog that feels useful is a happy, confident dog.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus:
Change / Alternate Toys to Keep Your Dogs Interest

According to studies dogs get bored with the same old toys. To keep your dog interested in his toys only give him access to a few at a time. . Chewing toys or dental sticks can help keep the dog’s attention. Playing fetch is another simple way to engage with your dogs.

Dog Relaxing The aim- a happy relaxed dog.



Erasmus Profile Erasmus: How can you teach your dog to relax?

Not all dogs are naturals at relaxing. The relaxation protocol is a useful technique to teach your dog to sit and stay in a variety of situations. Sometimes a nice simple belly rub is enough to soothe and relax your dog. Dogs are social creatures, so a nice belly rub, massage, or grooming session is an easy way to create a meaningful interaction with your dog. It’s a great way to bond and keep your dog occupied at the same time.

Disengage from your dog. Again, you want your dog to learn how to calm himself without input or direction from you. The equation for your dog should be, “When my human ignores me, I should calm down and relax because it pays off really well.”

It’s easier if you have a bunch of the treats in your hand the minute you sit down, as that will allow you to start rewarding immediately, rather than fumbling into the treat container and possibly missing the chance to reward any early calmness. To prevent your dog from discovering the treats in your hand, you can place that hand behind you between rewards. You won’t have to do that for long when your dog discovers that you drop treats when he is relaxed or calm.

Drop a few pieces of the food on the mat while your dog is busy sniffing around to see if he missed any of the original treats. As your dog is eating those, start to drop one treat at a time, about every 1-2 seconds around his front paws, but on the mat. Your dog should be getting very interested in what might be making you drop food at his feet! It’s important that you drop the treats and not hand them to your dog.



Kinkajou Profile Kinkajou :
What Are The Benefits of Playing Tug with Your Dog?

Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Despite an old popular myth, Tug doesn’t make dogs aggressive. Nor will it make your dog see you as weak or less dominant if you let him win. If you let your dog win a game it makes him enjoy the game even more, and it’s a great confidence builder for them.

Don’t concern yourself with who is ‘winning.’ There’s a difference between being a great leader and being dominant. Your dog is looking for a leader; someone to help him find a purpose and to engage in meaningful activities. Initiating a game of tug is one of the easiest ways to teach your dog to follow along. It’s a game for the both of you – it doesn’t make you any less of a leader if you purposefully lose.

Trying to dominate the game by winning is likely to cause less interest from your dog. A game is no longer fun when you always lose.

Recent studies have found that the more play a dog engages in the less likely he is to exhibit behavioural problems. Dogs that engaged in tug with their owners were also found to be more playful and were more likely to come when called.


Destructive Bored Dog

Typical bad behaviour in a bored dog.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: 
Playing Tug Will Not Make Your Dog Aggressive

In studies that have been conducted researchers found that dogs that play tug with their owners have higher confidence and amenability, meaning they were more obedient. The same study also found that dogs who engaged in more rough housing games such as tug were found to exhibit fewer separation related behaviours.


Erasmus Profile Erasmus: Tug Can Be Used as Positive Reinforcement

Many professional dog trainers use more than just treats when working with their dogs. If you’ve watched dogs being trained for K9 police work, military dog training, or agility; you’ve likely seen the trainer holding a tug toy in their hands. When the dog completes the desired behaviour he’s rewarded with a quick game of tug.

If your dog enjoys a game of tug try using it as the reward in your next training session.


Goo Goo : The Benefits of Playing Tug with Your Dog

There are many benefits to playing a game of tug of war with your dog. The main benefits of tug include:

Minute for minute it’s one of the most intense forms of exercise for your dog.

Playing tug will give your dog a great mental and physical workout.

Tug strengthens your bond with your dog.

Easy way to reinforce obedience basics and helps increase your dog’s impulse control.

Redirects destructive chewing.

Tug helps build a dog’s confidence. (Especially if you let him win)

Creates a useful distraction when working on learning other behaviours.



Erasmus Profile Erasmus: The Rules of Playing Tug with Your Dog

Your dog must know a “drop it” or release command. This will help you stop the game if necessary.

Use a tug toy that is long enough to keep your dog’s teeth away from your hands. The toy should also be flexible and durable.

Keep the toy put away when you’re not using it. It’s a game that you initiate when you want to play.

Teach your dog that he can only grab the toy when you give permission. Hold the toy up or off to the side; only begin the game once he sits. After he sits and waits you can encourage him to “take it.” If your dog hasn’t played tug before he might be reluctant. Let him grab onto it and gently move the tug from side to side encouraging him to pull.

Don’t pull upwards; only tug from side to side. Pulling up on the tug can injure your dog’s spine.

As your dog gets more excited he might begin to growl; this is normal behaviour. If you feel that your dog is getting too excited or intense take a break.

If your dog’s teeth come in contact with you, the game should stop immediately. Say “ow” or let out a yelp and tell the dog to release the toy. Once your dog is calmly sitting down and waiting to begin again you can tell them to “take it” and start tugging again. If they let their teeth touch your hand again it’s OK to stop the game for the day. They’ll eventually learn to be extra careful when grabbing the tug.

Do not let children play tug with your dog unless you’re supervising to watch out for signs of over excitement.

Typically if the game is intense, 5-10 minutes is plenty.


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