Combatting backways boredom

Many dogs are left alone in backyards for hours day after day. Backyard boredom is often the root of behavioural problems such as excessive barking, digging, destruction and in very sad cases even self mutilation. Dogs are intelligent creatures and therefore require mental stimulation. Left alone in a yard with nothing to do it makes sense for a dog to create their own entertainment – this could involve:

  • barking at clouds
  • running in circles
  • pulling clothes off the line or…..
Help! I need to leave my dog alone while i go to work

Here are some simple ideas to keep your dog occupied and happy while he is alone in the yard.

  1. Make his environment interesting by rotating his toys daily (yes every day!).
    Start with a collection of 30 toys. This could include kongs, treat balls, stuffed toys, chew toys, plastic bottles (with the lid and ring removed), and plastic ice cream containers). Scatter 10 toys around the yard on day 1. At the end of the day pick up every toy. The following day throw out 10 more toys. Using this rotation your dog will see the same toys every 4 days. This means the toys will remain interesting to him.
  2. Make feeding time last longer.
    • Rather than feeding your dog from a bowl scatter his dry kibble around the backyard. It will take him ages to sniff out every piece.
    • Stuff a ‘kong’ toy with yummy treats. In summer you can freeze the stuffed ‘kong’ and make a ‘kongsicle’ for your dog to enjoy
    • Put some liver treats or kibble in a treat ball or ‘Buster Cube’ . Your dog will need to use his brain to work out how to get those treats.
  3. Provide your dog with a raw marrow bone a couple of times each week and smoked pig’s ears to chew on.
  4. Employ a dog walker. If you don’t have time to walk your dog it is worthwhile employing a professional dog walker.

Provided by Nicole Beasley of Planet K9