Do dogs get bored?
Let’s peek behind commonly accepted symptoms of a “bored” dog.
Some behaviors that people associate with a bored dog might include:
- destructive chewing or shredding,
- nuisance barking,
- eliminating in your house (pee or poop),
- jumping up on you, your guests, on counter tops, or over the fence,
- hyperactivity (just won’t sit still, relax, or sleep),
- fighting with other dogs,
- stealing food from the table, countertop, or the trash,
- unrolling the toilet paper, or
- digging up potted plants or flowerbeds.
We also must consider that there are certain behaviors which come naturally or instinctively to dogs that may not be socially suitable to us, such as digging, marking, defending their territory, or scavenging for food. Suffice it to say, not all unwanted dog behavior can be blamed on an emotion because some of these are very natural activities for our companions. So, if dogs don’t understand that they should not behave naturally, they will have no reason not to.
Also worth considering is the fact that dogs are not like us. Dogs by nature do not get bored. They live in the moment and have no expectations for the future. Only people perseverate on the future. So, dogs don’t typically experience emotions the same way we do. I’m not saying they aren’t emotional beings. They just use their emotions differently and with specific purpose. Our tendency to blame their behavior on a human emotion, or to anthropomorphize them, shows how little we truly understand about man’s best friend. There is no doubt in my mind and experience that dogs are magical, spiritual animals. Even so, I have come to appreciate a couple core principles regarding this topic in my work with dogs and people.
First and foremost, if it's not made clear to them that their natural behavior is unacceptable to us, then they have no reason to curtail it.
Second, these behaviors may be messages they are sharing with us about us and actually have nothing to do with their emotions.
It’s important to understand that dogs are always communicating with us. Their very nature and instinct provides them with access to our inner core being. From this perspective they are finely attuned to our psycho emotional needs. Their innate instincts kick in and prompt them to express the precise behavior that we need to observe at any given time agitating us to grow as a human being. You see, the role of man’s best friend is to support us in our journey as humans. You could consider them to be your private Yoda of sorts. Sometimes they try to show us parts of ourselves that we don’t know exist. Or they can show us new behaviors and beliefs we need to consider. They have even shown me a completely different direction that I needed to take in my life in quite bizarre ways. So, depending on what the owner needs to see, know, or change, the dog will illustrate the corresponding behavior attempting to show it to you. Let me give you some examples of this and how it works. Here are 3 behaviors with their corresponding messages from the dog.
Example one, the “destroyer”:
This is the dog who destroys things in the house or yard. One could assume he does this out of spite or because he has nothing else to do. But really this dog carries a specific message for his owner. He shares the need for you to stand up for yourself or defend yourself from others. The dog knows that you get walked on, taken advantage of, and treated poorly by other people. The “destroyer” understands how destructive this is to one’s ego and self-confidence, so he attempts to communicate this in the only way he knows how; by aggravating the stew out of you repeatedly. This is the only way he knows to motivate you into a state of mind which will empower you to take a stand and boldly defend your position with the other humans in your life. Once you boldly stand your ground, he will no longer create a need for you to do so.
Example two, the “escape artist”:
This dog is always getting out of enclosures, crates, pens, fences, or even the house. You just can’t keep her contained no matter what you do. She’s refusing to be shackled or controlled anymore. She must be free to be herself fully. She’s showing her mom that she needs to fully embrace the freedom to be her true self. She invites her to fully express who she is with others instead of being afraid of being judged for who she is. Her message is to embrace the freedom to fully be yourself! Allow your true self to shine through without letting anyone else scare or shame you out of it. Once you are able to do this, you will understand the freedom she feels when she escapes!
Example three, the “nuisance”:
You know this dog, the one that barks, whines, or howls incessantly creating a neighborhood nuisance. This dog has a lot to say because his owner has trouble speaking up and using his voice. This dog can see that his companion tends to “bite his tongue” and not say what’s on his mind. Sometimes this robs others of a critical experience that they require for their own growth. The nuisance wants to remind his pack leader that he needs to speak his feelings, his needs, and his dreams to others appropriately and not hold himself back. Refusing to speak his truth leads to immeasurable health issues which this dog hopes to prevent for you. Once you begin to use your voice, his voice can become quiet.
These are all great examples of how dogs challenge us to be the best versions of ourselves. When they see areas we struggle with, they step in with messages to help. It's been my experience that once these messages are understood and utilized for spiritual and emotional growth, the dog will stop offering the unwanted behavior.
When your dog commits one of the aforementioned offenses, you have to ask two questions.
- Have I made it clear to my dog that their behavior violates my expectations within our relationship?
- What message is my dog trying to convey to me?
If the former applies to your situation, then you can benefit from the assistance of a dog trainer or dog behaviorist. However, if the latter applies to you, it would be better addressed by a dog psychic, which are abundant, or a channel for the k9 guides such as myself.
All in all you have a few choices for addressing what you might consider boredom in your dog. Most people would attempt to solve the problem by supplying toys, treats, or entertainment to distract the dog. But, given what I have just shared with you, can you see why this may not be successful? It could even be a missed opportunity for you to receive a powerful life-changing message from your best friend.
Either way, this is what I suggest when dealing with a dog who appears to be “bored”:
- Revisit basic pack leadership and make sure your expectations are properly communicated.
- Take a walk on the wild side and consider your own dog’s psychic power. What is he or she attempting to communicate that you aren't seeing about yourself?
- Or I suppose you could do none of the above, ignore the behavior, and miss an opportunity to receive the special gift your dog has to offer.
Which will you choose?