10 Signs Your Dog is Bored

bored golden retriever under a blanket

Dogs need exercise, mental stimulation, and attention to be happy and healthy. As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog. And, is also often a well-behaved dog. Dogs that are bored will try to entertain themselves and will usually get into trouble or create undesirable situations for you when they do. Here are a few signs your dog is bored:

1. They Are Being Destructive

Although there are many reasons a dog might be destructive, boredom is one of the most common reasons behind it. Destructive behaviors like chewing, digging, getting into the trash, and more are all things that can be fun for your dog and give them something to do.

Dogs tend to chew more when they’re going through puppy teething. But, if your dog is chewing a lot or chewing destructively and they are not teething, they might be bored. For some dog breeds, digging is an instinctual behavior that is a lot of fun. So, it may be a common outlet for their energy when they are bored or not getting enough exercise.

Destructive behavior, especially if it is more frenzied in nature and occurs when you are away from your dog, could be a sign of separation anxiety in your dog. So, you do want to take in other context clues to see if your dog is just bored or if there is something else going on.

2. Your Dog is Barking More Than Usual

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons and at a lot of different things. If they’re barking more than usual and there isn’t an obvious reason for it, it could be a sign that your dog is bored. They may be barking at you non-stop or whining at you to get you to play with them and help relieve their boredom.

They could also be at the window and barking more than usual. There could be more things around that cause them to bark, but they could also just be bored and barking at things they wouldn’t normally.

If your dog is barking a lot at night, boredom and a lack of mental stimulation could be a reason. Making sure your dog gets enough exercise, attention, and mental stimulation throughout the day, and leaving some quiet toys with them at night, can help to keep your dog from barking at night.

3. They Escape and Wander

Some dog breeds have an urge to wander and can be escape artists. Siberian Huskies are notorious escape artists. But, other dogs will sometimes do the same if they are bored.

They may dig under a backyard fence or jump over it to go on an adventure. They could bolt out of the door and run before you can get a leash on them.

One escape is an experiment. But, when escaping for adventures becomes a repeated behavior, your dog is likely bored.

4. Your Dog’s Greetings Are Over-the-Top

Dogs are usually excited to see you when you come home. But, if your dog’s greetings have become over-the-top and more hyper than usual, it could be one of the signs your dog is bored. Unless there is something else going on that could cause it, your dog is even happier to see you because they have an outlet for their pent-up energy.

If this is happening with your dog, it may be a good idea to leave some challenging toys or puzzles behind so they can safely get some mental stimulation when you’re not around. You can also plan to take them for a walk or run as soon as you get home to let them burn off some of that energy.

5. They Follow You Around Insistently

Most dogs want to be around you, so it’s probably normal for your dog to follow you around the house. But, if they are stalking you and getting as close as possible while also bringing a toy, they are probably bored and are trying to get you to play with them.

They may also revert to puppy-like behavior like biting or nipping at your ankles, pant legs, or anything they can reach. This could be a sign of boredom and that your dog has a lot of energy they just don’t know what to do with.

6. Your Dog is Chasing Their Tail More Often

One of the reasons why dogs chase their tails is because it’s something to do and is often also fun. If your dog is chasing their tail more often, it could be a sign that they are bored. There are other reasons a dog might chase their tail, but boredom or pent-up energy are the most common.

7. They Are Lethargic or Listless

Although boredom and pent-up energy often go together in dogs, a bored dog can also end up acting really lazy. When they are bored, some dogs will act listless, be lethargic, and may even appear depressed. Depression in dogs is a real possibility, so make sure you rule it out.

Also, lethargy in dogs can be a symptom of illness, pain, or something else. So, look for other symptoms you should never ignore in your dog like difficulty breathing, excessive drool, lack of appetite, fever, and more. If you see concerning symptoms like these, it’s important to get to the vet.

If there is no other explanation for your dog’s listlessness and you don’t see any other symptoms that would indicate potential illness, they are probably just bored. Give them some attention and see if they want to take a walk with you or play with you. If they perk up and act normally, it’s a good sign.

8. Your Dog is Bothering Other Dogs

A multi-dog household usually helps keep all pooches occupied to an extent. But, even with other dogs around, a dog can still get bored. If one of your dogs starts bothering and harassing the other dog(s), they might be bored.

The problem arises when the other dog isn’t interested in playing and isn’t in the mood to be bothered. If the bored dog doesn’t take a hint, you could find yourself with a dogfight on your hands.

Pay attention to the signals that show whether dogs are playing or fighting and step in to prevent a fight if you need to. Otherwise, let them play for a bit and then make sure all of your dogs have something to do so none of them get bored.

9. They Are Pacing

Another one of the signs your dog is bored is pacing. There are several reasons why dogs pace. One of them is boredom. Another is pent-up energy. Pacing is a way to help get out some excess energy and it gives your dog something to do.

Other potential reasons for pacing include separation anxiety, discomfort, etc. Pacing can also be a sign of bloat in dogs, so you want to pay attention to what’s going on and figure out why your dog is pacing. If they are bloated, drooling excessively, or having trouble breathing, get to the vet immediately.

10. Your Dog is Licking Excessively

Although not all dogs do it, some dogs will lick themselves and you excessively when they are bored enough. They may over-groom themselves, chew on their paws for something to do, or lick you a lot as well. If you give them something to do or play with them, they should stop.

Excessive licking can be a reaction to skin issues, allergies, fleas, and more. So, if your dog is licking and chewing on their paws a lot or grooming a specific area a lot, you do want to check things out to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

These are just a few signs your dog is bored. A lot of them overlap with signs your dog isn’t getting enough exercise. So, if you see them, it’s not a bad idea to go for a walk, see if your dog wants to play, or try some other activity that will engage their brain and also help them expend some energy.