Consequences of Boredom

In a word, the consequences of boredom are: Not Good. OK, that’s two words, but you get the idea. A bored dog is a destructive dog, an unhappy dog, and a dog that is not always a pleasure to be around, or to come home to.

A bored dog will chew – furniture, woodwork, your new shoes – and a bored dog will nose around and, if she’s the size of a Newf, move furniture to places you might not want it. If outside, a bored dog will bark – annoying your neighbors – and will dig – not good for your flowers or vegetable garden. Bored dogs can even exhibit signs of compulsion or obsession, some of which can lead to physical issues requiring veterinary and/or behavioral intervention. In short, a bored dog is not a dog that’s fun to live with.

Of course few of us can be on call 24/7 to provide our dogs with exercise and entertainment, but the good news is that we don’t need to be. Adult dogs – especially giant breeds like Newfoundlands – are fond of their naps, often sleeping up to 12 hours a day, especially as they age. And even younger dogs will, in effect, sleep as a way of dealing with boredom – up to a point. But don’t expect a young Newf to sleep the day away while you’re at work if you haven’t exercised her or otherwise arranged to give her a chance to burn off energy; that’s unfair to the dog, to your house or yard, and to you. This doesn’t mean you need to take your dog for five mile hikes every morning before work and then again after work, but it does mean that, like all responsible dog owners, you need to recognize that your dog needs exercise and stimulation. Even a twenty-minute walk in the morning and again in the evening can be enough for many Newfs – remember, we’re not talking about Border Collies here – so that they are calm the rest of the day (and night), especially if you’ve remembered to provide chew toys, games, or other stimulation for them while you’re away or occupied. If your schedule permits, a quick visit home in the middle of the day for a quick game of fetch or a short walk can work wonders at burning off your dog’s extra energy; arranging for a mid-day dog walker is another possibility. As many trainers will tell you, a tired dog is a good dog.

So provide your dog with sufficient, age-appropriate exercise and with toys and games to keep him occupied, and neither of you will have to deal with the consequences of boredom.

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