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Is my dog bored or are they anxious? Question of the year! As we all spent more time at home with our pets, you may have noticed them sleeping, lounging, obsessively cleaning their paws or specific spots on their body, or just staring into the void. This was probably a good glimpse into your pet’s day. The likelihood of them being bored is pretty high. Let’s talk about it!

Dog anxiety can stem from a variety of different things. It could be genetics, improper socialization, fear based, being away from their owner, or reactivity. It could also be boredom. A lot of dog owners tip toe around this idea because they have to take some responsibility for why their pet may be acting a certain way. One thing I choose to remember is that I am in control of my dog’s happiness and joy. I decide when we walk, how far we walk, where we go, how often we get new toys, what enrichment activities we do, the list goes on and on. This is where breed research is super important. Breed research is how we learn about our pets and what brings them joy and fulfillment. For example, border collies are natural herders. Herding dogs love playing fetch, so go out and throw the ball until you can’t any more.

Boredom or anxiety, how to tell the difference

So how can you tell the difference between anxiety and boredom? When a dog feels like they have no purpose, like mentioned before dogs need jobs, they start to manifest anxiety like behaviors. This can look like any of the following:

  • Constantly barking, howling, or whining
  • Obsessively cleaning paws, arms, or specific areas on the body repeatedly resulting in hot spots
  • Destructive behavior through out the day or when left alone
  • Aggression
  • Sleeping all day

While some of this behaviors can be attributed to generalized anxiety, they can also be the result of a bored dog. Dog’s who spend their days in the house with no real entertainment and definitely bored. Before assuming your dog has anxiety, do some breed specific research and make sure they’re getting enough mental and physical exercise.

Can I help my bored dog?

Absolutely you can! Like I said before, you control your dog’s joy. Look into what your dog was bred to do. I have a hound who loves nothing more than to smell. My favorite and one of the easiest ways to entertain him is throwing a handful of his kibble in the yard for him to sniff out. Hounds were bred to do scent work, so we really lean into that. Even if that means stopping a hundred times on our walk to smell every bush, tree, or twig we pass! When I allow him to do this, I notice he’s a lot less anxious passing other dogs, people, or kids (all three things he does not like very much).

My dog is definitely not bored, he’s anxious!

You may find that this is the case for your pup. In that case, CBD is a great way to reduce anxiety and increase serotonin levels. If you have any questions about CBD for dog’s with anxiety, go check out this post!

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