Friday, 14 October 2011

Barking Like Bonkers with Boredom!

It never ceases to amaze me how some people get a dog but don't provide it with much to do and then wonder why it creates havoc around the home!  Chewing, barking, digging inappropriately etc.  (all natural dog behaviour by the way, but can end up being done to excess or at times the owners find problematic). Or some people don't research the needs of a breed and get a dog totally inappropriate to their lifestyle, home and their ability / availability to provide the dog with adequate mental and physical stimulation etc.  For example getting a Collie and then shutting it in a small flat on its own all day!  Some dogs don't even get regular walks or they spend their waking hours home alone, whilst the owners are out at work all day.  The equivalent of solitary confinement in a prison - why is the dog, a naturally social creature, effectively being punished for just existing, I ask?? Some people admit to only taking the dog for a walk once or twice a week!!  Or the walk they do get, is extremely short and always to the same place.  Boring!!!  I regularly see someone who gives their dog a walk to the playing field, she walks around the middle of the field, waits until the dog has a poo and then takes it back home, well once it eventually catches up with her, as she always seems in a hurry to get the walk over with!!  No interest in interacting with the dog at all!  This all takes place under 10 minutes!  Really not an adequate exercise session for a one year-old labrador!  Then this same owner is heard complaining that the dog chews everything at home, runs off to see other dogs and people in the field while she stands calling it in vain!  Duh!!! Helloo!!!???  I would just like to have some owners experience the boredom and feeling of going 'stir-crazy' that some dogs have to endure - how would they like to be locked up in a house all alone, or outside in a garden all day, where their excrement is also left lying for days on end or just simply ignored by the humans as they are too wrapped up in their own doings?  Wouldn't you go crazy and just try finding something to do, to alleviate your boredom?!  Or would you just become depressed and lethargic and withdrawn?  Or maybe just resign yourself to the boredom but then go completely nuts once you had company again and jump all over everyone, only sadly, to be shouted at for being a pain?!   There are so many toys and activities that owners can provide for their dog in order to keep them sufficiently mentally exercised - Kongs, Nylabones and Buster Cubes - Kong Wobblers and Activity Balls and Busy Buddies - if you don't have the time to spare to attend to their physical and psychological needs, let your dogs have fun at least!!  (or don't get the dog in the first place?!)  Training and playing games, setting dogs puzzles to solve - all can help alleviate some problem behaviours by providing adequate channels for mental and physical needs.  My last little quip on this subject is - why do some owners feed their dogs the equivalent of rocket-fuel and then wonder why the dog is tearing up the house!?  Feeding dogs a working diet when the dog does not work, is a recipe for disaster! As is feeding a diet of cheap, nasty, colourful food and treats!  It's like feeding sugary drinks and e-numbers to small children and then seeing them bouncing off the ceiling and having major temper tantrums!  So for a happy home, make sure you have a happy dog, then it'll be happy days all round!! :)

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