Boredom and Misbehavior in Dogs

In “Why Does My Dog Misbehave,” I discussed several reasons why our dogs might not meet our behavioral expectations. I posed a list of things to consider when assigning the blame for misbehavior and one of those considerations was:

Are my dog’s physical and mental exercise needs being met? A dog needs adequate mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis. If we don’t provide it for them, they will find ways to meet their needs that may be less than desirable for us.

Plain boredom— this lies at the heart of much of the mischievous behavior we see in dogs. If we don’t supply them with the mental and physical challenges they need to occupy themselves, they will self-entertain. Idle paws are the devil’s workshop and all.

This illustration provided by Lili Chin of, of a concept by Elisabeth Weiss of is an excellent example of the doggie thought process and gives some good tips on how to avoid the fruits of boredom.