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30 Easy Dog Boredom Busters to Keep Tails Wagging

30 Easy Dog Boredom Busters to Keep Tails Wagging Leave a comment

Is your furry companion feeling a bit down in the dumps lately? If you notice your dog exhibiting signs of restlessness or a lack of enthusiasm, it might be time to combat their boredom with a variety of entertaining activities. A mentally stimulated and engaged dog is a happier and healthier dog. Check out the 30 fun dog boredom buster activities listed below. 

30 Easy Dog Boredom Busters to Keep Tails Wagging

30 easy ways to beat doggy boredom and keep tails wagging

From engaging puzzle toys that they can play on their own to amazing bonding activities for the whole family, here are some of the best dog boredom busters ever!

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You may also love: 7 Amazing Dog Enrichment Ideas for Keeping Pups Mentally & Physically Stimulated

1.  Puzzle Toys

Engage your dog’s problem-solving skills with interactive puzzle toys. Puzzle toys are a fantastic way to keep your canine companion mentally stimulated and entertained. These interactive toys require your dog to use their problem-solving skills to access treats or rewards hidden within.

Designed to challenge your dog’s mind, puzzle toys come in various shapes and sizes, featuring different mechanisms to keep your pup engaged. Some may require your dog to push, roll, or flip parts of the toy to reveal hidden treats, while others involve sliding compartments or lifting flaps.

Not only do these toys provide mental stimulation, but they also offer a rewarding experience for your furry friend. As your dog figures out how to unlock the treats, it satisfies their natural curiosity and keeps them engaged for extended periods.

We love the Ethical Pet’s Seek a Treat Shuffle Toy. DogVills’ editor Nicole has this game for her Pharaoh Hound. It’s held up for 7 years so far, and counting!

Spot Ethical Pet Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Toy Puzzle That Will Improve Your Dog's IQ, Specially Designed for Training Treats

2.  Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is a delightful and interactive game that not only engages your dog’s senses but also encourages their natural hunting instincts. It’s a simple yet effective way to keep your furry friend entertained and mentally stimulated.

To play hide and seek with your dog, start by selecting a few of your dog’s favorite treats or toys. Begin in an area where your dog is comfortable and familiar, like your living room or a spacious hallway. Have your dog sit or stay while you find a spot to hide the treats or toys.

Once hidden, encourage your dog to find them using verbal cues like “find it” or “search.” Initially, you might want to guide them to the first few hidden items to help them understand the game. Gradually, as your dog gets the hang of it, increase the difficulty by hiding items in more challenging spots or in different rooms.

Check out the video below to see why hide and seek is such a great training game:

3.  Indoor Fetch

Play a gentle game of fetch in a spacious room or hallway.

Indoor fetch is a fantastic way to keep your dog entertained and physically active, especially when outdoor conditions aren’t suitable for outdoor play. Playing fetch indoors can provide a safe and enjoyable activity for both you and your furry companion.

To start an indoor game of fetch, choose a spacious area free of obstacles or breakable items. A hallway or a large room with minimal furniture works well. Ensure there’s enough space for your dog to run and retrieve the toy without causing any accidents or disturbances.

Select a soft and appropriate toy for indoor fetch to prevent any damage to furniture or fragile items. Tennis balls or soft plush toys specifically designed for indoor use can be great choices.

You can also grab a good fetch machine that’s designed for both indoor and outdoor use, like the iRetriever Automatic Ball Launcher from Uahpet.

Uahpet Automatic Ball Launcher
Freya playing with the Uahpet Automatic Ball Launcher (Credit: Nicole Etolen)

4.   Tug of War

Safely engage in a game of tug with a rope or sturdy dog toy (we love the Fable Twin Falcon Toy)

Tug of war is a classic and enjoyable game for many dogs, fostering an interactive and bonding experience between pets and their owners. When played correctly and safely, it can be a fun and beneficial activity for both you and your furry companion.

It provides mental stimulation as your dog strategizes and engages in interactive play with you. However, it’s crucial to monitor the game and ensure it remains safe and controlled.

Remember, tug of war should always be played in a controlled and respectful manner, with both parties participating willingly and enjoying the interaction.

Fablepets Twin Falcon Toy

Fablepets Twin Falcon Toy

The dual sided handles make the Twin Falcon perfect for interactive tugging play, while the two treat cavities (for spreads like peanut butter) support independent, quiet play.

Shop on Fable

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5.     Indoor Obstacle Course

Create an indoor obstacle course with pillows, cushions, and low hurdles. Creating an indoor obstacle course for your dog is a fantastic way to engage their mind and body, especially when outdoor activities aren’t feasible. It’s a stimulating and fun way to provide exercise and mental stimulation for your furry friend.

An indoor obstacle course offers numerous benefits for your dog. It provides physical exercise, improves agility, and enhances problem-solving abilities. Moreover, it stimulates their mind as they figure out how to navigate through the obstacles, providing mental stimulation and preventing boredom.

Keep the activity light-hearted and enjoyable for your dog. If they seem hesitant or unsure about any obstacle, offer gentle encouragement and guidance without forcing them to complete it.

Check out the video below for tips on how to make your own indoor dog obstacle course:

6.     Teach New Tricks

Reinforce existing tricks or teach your dog new ones to keep their mind active. Teaching your dog new tricks or reinforcing existing ones is an excellent way to keep their mind active, build their confidence, and strengthen your bond with them. Dogs love to learn and thrive on mental stimulation, making training sessions a rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend.

Remember, the goal of teaching tricks is not just about the end result but also about the process of learning. It’s an opportunity to bond with your dog, build trust, and provide mental stimulation.

Training sessions should be enjoyable and positive experiences for your dog. Always conclude on a positive note, even if progress is gradual. Most importantly, cherish the time spent together during training as it strengthens your relationship and enhances your dog’s mental abilities.

Here are a few fun ideas to get you started:

7.     Fetch with Squeaky Toys

Make fetch more exciting with squeaky toys. Playing fetch with squeaky toys can add an extra level of excitement and engagement to this classic game for your furry companion. Squeaky toys often pique a dog’s interest due to the sound they emit, making them an excellent choice to enhance fetch sessions.

Playing fetch with a squeaky toy adds an element of excitement and stimulation to the game. The engaging sound of the toy can motivate your dog to chase and retrieve it enthusiastically, making fetch sessions more entertaining and enjoyable for your furry friend.

Remember to select high-quality, durable toys, supervise playtime, and ensure the safety of your dog during the game. Incorporating squeaky toys into fetch can be a fun way to engage your dog’s senses and keep them active while reinforcing the bond between you and your furry companion.

Spunky pup Squeaky Tennis Balls for Dogs SP2020 | Squeak - Toss - Fetch - Bounce - Floats | Durable Brightly Colored Ball | Especially Made for Small Dogs 2” Diameter with Mesh Bag | 3 Pack

8.     Scent Games

Stimulate your dog’s nose by hiding treats and encouraging them to find them. Scent games are an excellent way to engage your dog’s natural olfactory abilities, providing mental stimulation and entertainment. These games tap into your dog’s keen sense of smell, offering an enjoyable and rewarding experience for them.

Scent games offer numerous benefits for your dog. They provide mental stimulation, engage their natural instincts, and offer a rewarding and exciting activity that taps into their strongest sense which is smell.

These games not only keep your dog entertained but also provide a constructive outlet for their energy and mental focus. Moreover, they strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion as you engage in an interactive and enjoyable activity together.

30 Easy Dog Boredom Busters to Keep Tails Wagging
Turn your bored dog’s frown upside by engaging his sniffer with scent games!

9.     Flirt Pole

Use a flirt pole toy to engage their prey drive indoors. A flirt pole is a fantastic interactive toy that can engage your dog’s natural prey drive, providing both physical exercise and mental stimulation. It’s essentially a long pole with a lure or toy attached to one end, mimicking the movement of small prey animals.

Flirt pole play can offer several benefits to your dog. It provides a physical workout that can help burn excess energy, improves coordination, and engages their natural instincts. Moreover, it can be an excellent outlet for mental stimulation as they focus on the moving lure. Remember to supervise your dog during flirt pole play, especially if they are prone to becoming overly excited or if the toy’s movements can strain their joints. Additionally, always ensure the safety and appropriateness of the toy for your dog’s size and breed.

Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole V2 with Blue/Aqua Squeaker Fleece Lure - 36 inch Pole, 52 inch Cord - Durable Dog Toy for Fun Obedience Training & Exercise

10.  Daily Walks

Explore new scents and environments together during regular walks.

Daily walks with your dog offer numerous benefits beyond just physical exercise. They provide an opportunity for exploration, mental stimulation, and bonding between you and your furry companion.

Daily walks are not just about physical exercise; they’re also an opportunity for mental enrichment and exploration for your dog. By varying the routes, allowing time for sniffing and exploration, and incorporating play and training, you can turn a routine walk into an exciting and mentally stimulating experience for your furry friend.

11.  Dog Parks

Socialize and play with other dogs at a dog park. Dog parks can be fantastic places for dogs to socialize, exercise, and have fun in a safe, designated area.

Dog parks can be a great way for your dog to burn off energy, socialize, and have fun. 

However, it’s essential to monitor your dog’s behavior, respect others, and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. If your dog enjoys interacting with other dogs, regular visits to the dog park can be an enriching part of their routine.

12.  Nature Hikes

Discover nature trails or parks together for a change of scenery.

Taking your dog on nature hikes is an excellent way to explore new environments, provide mental and physical stimulation, and bond with your furry companion.

Nature hikes provide an enriching experience for both you and your dog, offering exercise, mental stimulation, and a chance to appreciate the great outdoors together. With proper preparation and attentiveness, hiking can become a rewarding activity that strengthens your bond with your furry friend.

30 Easy Dog Boredom Busters to Keep Tails Wagging

13.  Water Play

If your dog enjoys water, consider a day at the lake or a kiddie pool.

Engaging in water play can be a fantastic way to provide your water-loving dog with a fun and refreshing experience. Whether it’s a trip to the lake, a river, or simply setting up a kiddie pool in your backyard, water activities can be enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

Water play can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for dogs, providing a chance to cool off, exercise, and have a great time. With careful supervision and consideration for safety, it can become a cherished activity that your water-loving pup looks forward to.

14.  Frisbee

Have a blast playing a game of Frisbee in a secure, open area. Playing frisbee with your dog can be a fantastic way to engage them in a fun and energetic game while providing both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Pick a frisbee designed specifically for dogs. These are typically made of durable materials, are lightweight, and often have softer edges to prevent injury to your dog’s mouth.

Playing frisbee with your dog is a great way to provide exercise, stimulate their mind, and strengthen the bond between you. It’s essential to prioritize safety, ensure a positive experience, and tailor the activity to suit your dog’s abilities and interests. With patience and practice, frisbee can become an enjoyable and engaging activity for both you and your furry friend.

KONG Extreme Flyer - Dog Frisbee for Aggressive Chewers - Durable Rubber Dog Toy - Soft Dog Frisbee & Flying Disc for Fetch & Retrieve - Frisbee for Hyper Pets & Dogs - Black - Large Dogs

15.  Agility Course

Select a spacious and safe area in your yard where you can set up the agility course. Ensure the space is free from hazards and has enough room for various obstacles. Creating a mini agility course at home can be a rewarding experience for both you and your dog. It’s a great way to promote exercise, mental stimulation, and bonding while engaging in a fun and challenging activity together. Adjust the course to match your dog’s abilities and always focus on making the experience positive and enjoyable.

16.  Treasure Hunt

Organizing a treasure hunt for your dog is a great way to offer mental stimulation, encourage natural instincts, and create a fun and interactive game that strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion. Adjust the difficulty level according to your dog’s skill and always prioritize their safety and enjoyment.

17.  Bubbles

Blow dog-friendly bubbles for your dog to chase and pop. Blowing dog-friendly bubbles is a playful and enjoyable activity that can entertain and engage your furry friend. Opt for bubbles specifically designed for dogs, ensuring they are non-toxic and safe for pets. 

These bubbles are often made with pet-friendly ingredients and are less likely to cause any harm if ingested. Blowing dog-friendly bubbles can be a fun and light-hearted activity that adds variety to your dog’s playtime. It encourages movement, stimulates their curiosity, and can be an amusing way to spend time together. Always prioritize your dog’s safety and enjoyment during any play activity.

BubbleLick Watermelon (2.5 Fl Oz, Pack of 2), Edible Bubbles for Kids and Dogs

18.  Digging Pit

Allocate a designated digging area for your dog’s enjoyment. Creating a designated digging area, commonly known as a “digging pit,” can be a great solution to redirect your dog’s natural digging behavior to a specific spot in your yard.

Establishing a digging pit for your dog allows them to engage in their natural behavior without causing damage to other areas of your yard. It provides an outlet for their instinctual digging tendencies and helps maintain a harmonious environment while keeping your furry friend happy and entertained.

19.  Interactive Feeders

Use toys that dispense food while your dog plays with them. Interactive feeders or toys that dispense food while your dog plays with them are excellent tools for mental stimulation and slowing down mealtime. Choose a feeder or toy designed to dispense food gradually as your dog interacts with it. 

There are various types, such as puzzle feeders, treat balls, or toys with compartments that release food when manipulated. Interactive feeders not only provide mental stimulation and slow down eating but also offer a fun way for your dog to work for their food. They are excellent tools to engage your dog’s problem-solving abilities and provide entertainment, especially during times when they might need extra mental engagement or enrichment.

Bamboo Slow Feeder Dog Bowl - Designed by Veterinarians - Suitable for All Breeds - Large Size - Dog Puzzle Feeder

20.  Treat Balls

Treat balls offer an interactive and rewarding experience for dogs, encouraging physical activity and mental stimulation. They serve as excellent tools for providing entertainment and enrichment, especially during times when your dog needs extra engagement or a fun treat-dispensing activity.

PETGEEK Automatic Dog Treat Toys for Boredom, FDA Certificate Dog Food Dispensing Ball, Smart Dog Toy Interactive IQ Training Toy/Treat Dispensing Dog Toys ABS Materia Diameter 5.7”,White/Green Col...

21.  Chew Toys

Provide safe chew toys to satisfy natural chewing instincts. providing safe chew toys is an essential aspect of responsible dog ownership. Opt for chew toys that are durable, non-toxic, and appropriate for your dog’s size, breed, and chewing habits. Look for toys made from sturdy materials such as rubber, nylon, or hard plastics. Some dogs are heavy chewers, while others may be more gentle. Choose toys that match your dog’s chewing style and preferences.

By providing safe and appropriate chew toys, you satisfy your dog’s natural urge to chew, promote dental health, prevent destructive chewing behavior, and offer mental stimulation. Always prioritize your dog’s safety and preferences when selecting chew toys, and supervise their chewing activities to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience.

If you’re looking for a great way to introduce your dog to new toys every month, I highly recommend BarkBox!

BarkBox Monthly Subscription Box, Dog Chew Toys, All Natural Dog Treats, Dental Chews, Dog Supplies Themed Monthly Box, Large Dog (50lb+)

22.  Playdates

Arrange playdates with other friendly dogs for social interaction. Arranging playdates for your dog with other friendly canines is an excellent way to provide social interaction and mental stimulation. Arrange playdates with dogs that have similar temperaments, energy levels, and play styles to ensure a positive interaction. 

Dogs that get along well are more likely to have a good time together. Playdates provide dogs with socialization opportunities, mental stimulation, and can contribute to their overall well-being. When conducted in a controlled and positive environment, they can be a great way for dogs to interact, learn social cues, and enjoy companionship. Always prioritize safety, positive experiences, and mutual enjoyment during playdates.

23.  Dog Classes

Enroll in obedience or agility training classes for mental stimulation. Enrolling your dog in obedience or agility training classes is an excellent way to provide mental stimulation, promote good behavior, and strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion. 

Obedience and agility classes offer mental challenges for your dog. Learning new commands, navigating obstacles, and following instructions engage their minds, keeping them intellectually stimulated. The skills learned in classes can be applied to everyday situations, enhancing your dog’s behavior at home, in public places, and around other people and pets.

Remember, training should be enjoyable for both you and your dog. Positive and consistent training methods create a rewarding experience that fosters obedience, mental stimulation, and a well-behaved canine companion.

If you're looking for the best dog agility books, I've got you covered! Read on for my top 5 picks, plus tips on making your own obstacle course!

24.  Doggy Daycare

Consider doggy daycare for socialization and supervised play. Doggy daycare can be a fantastic option for pet owners seeking socialization opportunities and supervised playtime for their furry companions. Doggy daycare provides a controlled environment for dogs to interact and socialize with other canines under supervision. 

This can help in developing social skills and reducing behavioral issues related to isolation or lack of social contact. Doggy daycare can be an excellent option for busy pet owners or for dogs needing social interaction and stimulation. It offers a supervised and controlled environment where dogs can play, exercise, and socialize, contributing to their overall happiness and well-rounded behavior.

25.  Pet-Friendly Stores

Take your dog on outings to pet-friendly stores for new experiences. Taking your dog along for outings to pet-friendly stores can be an enriching experience for both you and your furry companion. Seek out stores in your area that welcome pets. Pet supply shops, certain outdoor equipment stores, bookstores, and some clothing stores often allow well-behaved dogs. Before heading out, verify the store’s guidelines for pets. 

Some may require dogs to be leashed, carried in a carrier, or may have designated pet-friendly areas within the store. Taking your dog to pet-friendly stores provides them with exposure to different environments, helps in socialization, and allows them to accompany you on your outings. Always prioritize your dog’s comfort and well-being while being respectful of other shoppers and the store’s rules.

26.  Doggie Playgroups

Join local dog playgroups in your community for group activities. Joining local dog playgroups can be an excellent way to provide socialization, exercise, and fun activities for your furry companion. Look for nearby dog playgroups or clubs in your community. These can often be found through online platforms, social media groups, or local pet-related organizations. Before joining, observe the playgroup to see if it’s a good fit for your dog. 

Assess the size of the group, the temperament of the dogs, and the overall atmosphere to ensure a positive environment. Doggie playgroups provide a fantastic opportunity for your dog to socialize, exercise, and have fun in a supervised and controlled environment. They can also be a great way for pet owners to connect, share experiences, and learn from one another. Always prioritize your dog’s safety and well-being while participating in these group activities.

27.  New Places

Go on car rides to explore new and interesting locations. Taking your dog on car rides to explore new places can be an exciting and enriching experience for both you and your furry companion. Explore nearby parks, nature reserves, pet-friendly beaches, hiking trails, or scenic spots that welcome dogs. 

Research and choose places that allow dogs and offer a safe environment for exploration. Exploring new locations with your dog can be a wonderful way to create lasting memories and provide them with mental stimulation and sensory experiences. Always prioritize your dog’s safety, comfort, and well-being during these outings.

Why do dogs like car rides?

28.  Rotate Toys and Activities

Switch up your dog’s toys and activities regularly to keep things interesting. Introduce new toys, rotate the existing ones, or change the type of games you play together. By rotating toys and activities, you keep your dog engaged, mentally stimulated, and excited about playtime. This strategy not only prevents boredom but also encourages curiosity and a healthy level of interest in their toys and activities.

B the way, if you want to try high-tech toys, they can be helpful for senior dogs. According to the Association for Computing Machinery, “Utilizing dog-computer interactions to provide mental stimulation in dogs, especially during aging.” This could be a great choice for your pooch.

29.  Frozen Treats

Frozen dog treats can offer various benefits to your pooch, especially during hot weather or as a way to provide entertainment and mental stimulation. 

When preparing frozen treats for dogs, ensure that the ingredients are safe and suitable for canine consumption. Avoid ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, xylitol, grapes, raisins, and certain types of nuts. Always supervise your dog while they enjoy frozen treats to prevent choking or any other potential hazards.

Working on a frozen treat can be mentally stimulating for dogs, especially when it’s a puzzle treat or involves some effort to consume. It keeps them occupied and engaged, preventing boredom.

frozen pumpkin dog treat
These frozen pumpkin dog treats are allergy-friendly, and super easy to make!

30.  Quality Time Together

Spend quality time with your dog, whether it’s cuddling, grooming, or simply hanging out. Dogs thrive on companionship and appreciate bonding time with their owners.

 Spending quality time with your dog is crucial for strengthening your bond and ensuring their well-being. Spending quality time with your dog is not only enjoyable but also vital for their emotional, mental, and physical well-being. It strengthens your bond and creates a happier, healthier relationship between you and your beloved pet.

30 Easy Dog Boredom Busters to Keep Tails Wagging

Remember, tailoring these activities to your dog’s age, breed, and physical abilities is essential. Prioritize safety and shower your furry friends with love and attention to keep them content and happy. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are key to preventing boredom-related behavior problems in dogs.

By incorporating these fun and engaging activities into your dog’s routine, you’ll not only keep them entertained but also contribute to their overall well-being and happiness. Happy playing!

Johanna Kennelly Ullman

Johanna is married with two kids and a LOT of animals. Johanna has
three dogs: two Wired-Haired Pointing Griffons and a Chorkie
(Chihuahua and Yorkie mix). She also has three cats, one leopard
gecko, several chickens, and a few fish. She has been in the Pacific
Northwest since the dream was alive in the 90s but has Southern roots
and hails from Arkansas. The family spends a lot of time at some sort
of sporting event for the kids. Johanna likes to fast craft, garden,
host parties, and bake. Johanna and her crew go hard traveling,
DIY-ing, and are always up for a new adventure or challenge. Johanna has a Master of Science in Communication from Portland State University.

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