Dogs get bored too, just like we do. While dogs like routines, because it brings them predictability, doing exactly the same thing every day, can also be quite boring. Many dogs in pet homes are also from working breeds or working lines, which adds another layer of needing high levels of mental enrichment or needing a job, they’re just not meant to be couch potatoes.

In this article we’ll dive into whether dogs can get bored, and why they might be bored, signs to look for in your dog to tell if they’re bored and boredom buster tips that can help to ease your dog’s boredom. 

The Zigzag app will help prevent boredom, in you and your dog. We’ve created a personalised journey based on your dog’s breed and their stage of development to give you the right content when you need it most. Not just that, but we also have a team of professional dog trainers, to answer your questions or help you pout with training your dog. 

Download a trial today and give it a go, your dog will thank you, we’re sure.

red setter lying down
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Can dogs get bored?

Yes, dogs can get bored. Historically they were bred to do a job and spend their days hunting, working or scavenging for food. Stuck in our homes with nothing to do can get very boring. A bored dog is not a happy dog and will often make mischief.

Lack of exercise

Different breeds and ages of dogs will have different exercise requirements. Companion and toy breeds generally need less exercise than others, but all dogs appreciate some time outside the house, whether for short or long walks, or even just sitting on a bench watching the world go by. It’s not just about running around; your dog will get the right amount of exercise by being outside and sniffing as well as by letting off steam too.

Lack of mental stimulation

Dogs are clever! They need to exercise their brains as well as their bodies. Mental stimulation can come through play, opportunities for reward based training, or access to mentally enriching activities and toys.


Dogs are social creatures, and being on their own is boring. This is often true when we leave dogs alone for extended periods of time, and if they do not have a chance to socially interact with other dogs.

No outlet for breed specific behaviour

If you have a working dog, be that a sheepdog who likes to herd, a gundog who wants to chase and bring you back a bird, or a terrier like a Jack Russell who wants to chase and destroy things, then they have instincts which can’t be quashed. This can lead to boredom, as the desire to do these things is still there, it just doesn’t have an outlet.

A boring environment

Dogs have curious and exploratory natures and like to live in an enriched environment, so a room, crate or playpen with nothing in it is likely to make them bored. We know that dogs will chew, scratch or rip up their bed, but this isn’t a good reason not to give them anything else.

bored pug
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Signs that your dog is bored

Signs that your dog is bored can be quite obvious, barking, pacing, being full of beans all of the time, or more subtle signs such as an increase in sleep or being lethargic. Read on, and we’ll go into signs your dog might be bored.


Bored dogs will go self-employed, they might chew or lick walls or carpet, scratch and dig at their beds, eat the post, or munch through your best shoes.

Sleeping a lot

Puppies need to sleep a huge amount, and adult dogs still spend a fair amount of time sleeping, but there should also be times that they’re active too. An increase in sleeping or if your dog is lethargic can be a cause for concern, and can be linked to boredom or depression in dogs. 

If you see a huge increase in the amount your dog is sleeping, and you can’t think of a reason, then it’s worth contacting your Vet for a chat.


Pacing is often a sign that a dog is bored and looking for extra stimulation, it can also be a sign of anxiety or stress. 


Excessive barking, or barking at nothing, is a sign that your dog might be trying to amuse themselves. Barking often has a self-reinforcing effect and lots of dogs enjoy doing it or they do it in order to provoke a response from you. 

If your dog only barks when you leave the house, it’s wise to check and see if they’re struggling with being away from you and/or have separation anxiety.

Licking, chewing, or scratching

Whether they’re licking you, your face, hands or feet, or they’re licking floors, it can be a sign that they’re bored, or anxious. 

Dogs can also chew and scratch at things when they’re bored, sometimes it’s just to amuse themselves or because they’re teething, and other times it can be a displacement behaviour – a behaviour seen out of context done to provide relief from stress, or yep, boredom!

Attention seeking

Whether you call this attention seeking, connection seeking, or in dog training circles action prompting, it can look like any or all of the above. Barking for attention, nudging you to get your attention, or licking you, they’re all ways of your dog trying to communicate that they need something, and are bored.

Getting the zoomies

Zoomies or frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs for short) are commonly seen in puppies, and in adult dogs after a stressful or arousing event like bath time! If your dog is getting zoomies a lot and proving difficult to calm down, then it can be because they are bored.

dog lying on the floor
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How to help a bored dog

If you think your dog is bored, then it’s quite easy to fix! Provide them with outlets to stretch their brain; give them an enriched environment to live in, play games, train them with positive reinforcement and make sure they’re getting enough exercise. 

Increase physical exercise

No need to pound the streets to wear them out. Take them for a sniffy walk where they get a chance to not only smell the flora and fauna outside, and check their pee-mails, but also to burn off some energy.

Train them with positive reinforcement

Dogs love to learn, and reward based training is the best for this. Try out clicker training and teach some tricks to stretch their brains not just their legs.

Try out some scent work

We’re sure you know that dogs have incredible noses with an amazing sense of smell, and scent detection is wonderful for helping dogs avoid boredom. It’s quite an easy win for pet parents too as the dog does all the work.

Check out our training games library for some scent work ideas.

Play games

There are so many different games you can play with your dog, and they’re not just about playing fetch either, but toys definitely help keep things interesting! Not only do games help with your dog’s boredom, but they also develop your relationship with your dog and increase your bond.

Try puzzle games

There are many different types of enrichment, and interactive puzzles are one type of food enrichment that will have your dog problem-solving and help to reduce boredom. You can buy puzzle toys or make your own, like the indoor foraging box in our training games library.

Give them an enriched environment

Dogs need an interesting environment to live in, let them have their toys out of the toy box, and give them plenty of blankets and beds, so they can choose to sleep in different places.

Take them on a doggy playdate

If your dog is social, they may appreciate a walk with their doggy friends. This will provide them plenty of opportunity to play with their own kind, elevating their mood and mentally stimulating them, so they’ll be less bored when they get home. 

Consider a puppy daycare or pet sitter who looks after other dogs if you don’t know anyone to walk with.

Give them your undivided attention

Whether they just want strokes, to be groomed, or a training session where you teach them having their teeth brushed is fine, your dog LIVES to have your attention and this will help them not be bored. We also quite like a cuddle too, don’t we?

Try a dog sport

Agility, scent work, obedience, or gundog classes will all give your dog a purpose and give you some ideas for things to train when you’re not in class. You might meet some friends too, as clubs are often very community and social minded.

Go to puppy socialisation classes

This is one way to tire a puppy out and definitely help with boredom, they will come home from puppy classes pooped! Find a good reward based puppy socialisation class in your area, your puppy will likely love going!

Take your dog somewhere new

It can get boring for us, and boring for our dogs, to visit the same places day after day. Pop them in the car and explore somewhere new, the novelty will be enriching for you both, and your dog will be less bored when you take them home. This is especially good for puppies who you are trying to socialise, as you’ll likely see quite a few ‘first’s be that horses, or going for a swim. 

Dogs do get bored if they’re sat around not doing anything and being left for an extended period of time. Dogs are social creatures and like having us or other dogs around for company, they also need a good level of physical and mental exercise each day, along with plenty of attention from us.

We can easily stop our dogs from being bored by giving them plenty of things to do in their day-to-day lives like reward based training, brain games, as well as playing and giving them affection. 

If you’re looking to do more with your dog, have a read of our clicker training and tricks articles for fun things to do. You could also learn some fun facts about puppies or why do dogs sleep on their backs.
Download the Zigzag puppy training app today, and you’ll never have a bored puppy or be bored yourself! We have tonnes of content based on what your dog needs at that time, and sometimes that might just be to teach them how to settle and sleep at night. On hand is a team of professional dog trainers to help you every step of the way via our in-app chat.