Dogs Trust

Beating Boredom!

Bored dogs can get up to all sorts of mischief in an attempt to amuse themselves and this can lead to unwanted behaviour and sometimes even the destruction of your favourite pair of shoes!

All dogs can become bored or distressed if they are left alone for long periods so Dogs Trust does not recommend that any dog should be left alone for longer than 4 hours at a time.

If you must leave a dog alone or you are simply looking for some ideas to keep your clever canine’s mind active, some of the following ideas may help:

Novelty Feeding:

As dogs are natural scavengers, they would quite happily keep busy all day looking around for food.

  • Buy an interactive toy such as a Kong, Havaball or Buster cube. These are all toys that can be filled with food and treats so that your dog has to work to get them out. They either have to lick at the contents which can be packed in tight, or they have to roll the toys with their nose or feet so that the treats fall out of small holes. These can also be frozen so it takes your dog longer to get his food or treats out.


  • Scatter dry food and treats around your house and garden (make sure any poo is picked up from the garden first).


  •  Place his food under an upturned bowl, plate or box. Watch him work out how to get to it.


  •  Use a fairly large cardboard box (depending on your dog’s size) and fill it with treats and layers of scrunched up newspaper and blankets. He’ll have a lot of fun digging and pulling out the stuffing to get to the treats.

Interactive Walking:

  • Try some recall training; call him to you for a really tasty treat and then let him go and play. Do this several times during your walk. As well as encouraging him to keep his attention on you and teaching him that coming on command does not have to mean the end of his walk, you’ll be training a good recall for any sticky situation.


  • Take a favourite toy out with you that you keep only for walks. This will make it very special to your dog. Active playing will wear him out a lot more quickly than just walking alone.