Beating Boredom for Pets

Familypet Vet - naughty puppy

It’s 8am, the garage door closes, and It will now be another 9 hours until you return home. Your car won’t pull in until early evening and your pet won’t have the entertainment of your company again until you return. So what shall they do in the meantime? The yard looks the same as it did yesterday. They’ve sniffed every leaf there is to sniff a thousand times before… Aha! Time to run border control! Done…. Now what?

Well, we all know what happens next. They dig up your plants, they chew your furniture, they bark constantly… enough to have a note from the neighbour waiting for you on your doorstep!
Sound familiar? These are all signs of boredom. And can we blame them? Could you imagine spending all that time alone in a non-stimulating environment? This is where environmental enrichment comes into play.

Environmental enrichment stimulates your dog mentally and physically to reduce inappropriate boredom behaviours such as chewing, digging and excessive barking.

As a caring loving dog owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you not only provide your pet with physical exercise but with mental stimulation too. This will help them pass the time whilst you’re out and give them something to look forward to with you leaving.

In our vet clinic, this is all part of the service we provide. In our Puppy Preschool, we teach you the Basic Dog Training skills you need to help your dog cope with you being gone all day.

The Key is... Be creative! Let’s look at a few ways we can enrich the environment and therefore the lives of our four-legged friends

Familypet Vet - Treasure map

Treasure hunt

Create a treasure hunt for your dog. Dogs love sniffing out food! This will also help burn a lot of that extra energy, while they hunt for their treats. Lock your dog inside whilst you hide small amounts of food around the backyard or throw some around on the lawn. Your dog’s normal biscuits or treats will be suitable
Familypet Vet - Sand pit


Provide a sandpit for your dog to dig and roll around in; you can buy one or try building one yourself. You can then hide and bury some treats in the sand. Dogs love to dig; this will create lots of fun and mental stimulation for your dog. It also gives your dog an appropriate place in the yard to dig, rather than the flower bed!
Familypet Vet - treat balls

Treat Balls

Treat balls and bustercubes are a tasty way to entertain your dog while they’re home alone. Instead of giving them their breakfast traditionally, try placing it in either a treat ball or bustercube. As your dog sniffs and pushes the cube or ball around their biscuits will gradually be released. Treat balls and bustercubes are available at most pet shops and vet clinics in a range of sizes to suit your dog.
Familypet Vet - Dog in kiddy pool

Paddling Pool

Does your dog love water? Why not give them a paddling pool! It doesn’t need to be huge, just enough for them to splash and sit in. The plastic children’s seashells are the perfect size. Ensure your dog can get in and out easily and the water isnt too deep for smaller breeds. Waterproof toys or treats such as apples, make hours of splashing entertainment.
Familypet Vet - Dog boredom buster

Doggy Iceblocks

Making tasty iceblockes will provide a long lasting distraction for your dog. Simply wash out an old container such as empty icecream container or takeaway food container, add some yummy treats or vegetables your dog will love, then add water and freeze! You could even try adding some chicken or beef stock for extra flavour. Once frozen, remove the plastic container and give the iceblock it to your dog. As the ice melts treats are exposed, giving your dog hours of tasty fun. This is ideal for summer.
Familypet Vet - kong with treats inside


If your dog has a strong jaw and loves to chew, kongs and everlasting treat balls are virtually indestructible. Kongs can be stuffed with your dogs most desired treats and the everlasting treat ball is as it sounds; it has a hard, longlasting treat inserted inside a tough rubber ball. Hours of amusement! Chewing releases endorphins for dogs, much like exercise does for us. This is why dogs love chewing and will enjoy knorring on a kong or treat ball. The cushions on your outdoor table setting will appreciate it!

Familypet Vet - dog with pile of toys


It’s possible for your dog to grow bored of some toys which is why it’s important to have a variety. Try only allowing your dog to have a few toys at one time. Then rotate them throughout the week to prevent them losing interest.
Familypet Vet - dogs looking through fence


Let your dog see past their yard. Some dogs enjoy knowing what is going on around them. Providing a peephole in the fence can give your dog plenty of entertainment watching people, dogs and other interesting things go by.

Come and visit us at Familypet Vet

These are just a few simple ways you can keep your dogs entertained whilst you are away from home. This is all part of basic Dog Training. It starts at Familypet Vet with Puppy Preschool. 

For more helpful tips or medical advice on separation anxiety, come visit out friendly team or ring us for an appointment on (08) 8370 3500.