How often have we seen dogs that are left along in the yard all day and made to sleep in a garage all night, with only an hour or two spent in the house with people? Unfortunately for the dogs, many owners feel that this is an adequate life for a pet. Unfortunately for the owners, this type of lifestyle leads to many behavioral problems, including:
Barking: Bored, lonely dogs often vocalize loudly. This leads to angry, upset neighbors.
Digging: Bored, lonely dogs need an outlet for their frustration and often resort to digging as a release.
Escaping: Bored, lonely dogs will try to find places that are neither boring nor lonely. Unfortunately, accidents often happen to dogs running loose, and these can be quite expensive for the owner--not to mention potentially fatal for the dog. Escaping can also become a habit that is difficult to break.
Destructive behaviors: Bored, lonely dogs will find ways to entertain themselves--often by chewing on patio furniture, garden hoses, and anything else within reach.
Self-mutilation: Bored, lonely dogs who do not use other means of release will often vent their frustration by chewing on their own feet, flanks, or other body parts. This can lead to serious health problems.
There is a simple prevention for boredom and loneliness for most pet dogs: MAKE HIM A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY! Dogs are pack animals, and owners are members of the dog's pack. Don't isolate the dog endlessly. That doesn't mean he should never be apart from you; it just means that the dog should be part of most family activities. Often, enrolling in training classes teaches you and your dog to communicate with each other. Obedience training also gives you a means of teaching your dog desired behaviors, which will make him pleasant to have in the house. Many pet owners think they can solve their pet's boredom and loneliness by getting another dog. Usually this doesn't solve problem behaviors; instead, the result is two dogs with bad behavior; two dogs who establish their own pack and lose interest in people.