Four tips to beat the backyard boredom blues

Training 051Up until quite recently Cynder shared her yard with Luna. The two would run around, play tug-a-war, chase each other, bark at the birds together and sometimes even get up to mischief (hard to believe I know, they look like such angels). When the relationship ended and Cynder and I moved out we went from a two dog household to only one as Luna stayed with A.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Cynder has always been a fairly independent pup anyway. As long as she knows that I am around and that I will always be coming back she is quite content. This meant that the biggest change of all, not having Luna around 24/7 wasn’t too hard on her. My biggest challenge now is preventing her from getting bored during the day whilst I’m at work.

Border Collie’s have quite active minds, you can tell just by watching them even just for a few minutes. It’s like you can actually see them think, plan their next move and then put it into action. So just how do you combat the dreaded backyard boredom blues? Here are a few tips:

Daily toy rotation: Dogs can get quite bored of the same toys in their yard. We have about 25-30 toys and rotate them in lots of 8-10 20130101-174749.jpgdaily. That way by the third day she has forgotten all about her other toys and they are all exciting again. There are a few mainstays though; Cynder couldn’t really go a day without one of her balls in the yard. She has her favourite type of ball that she will play with by herself and I usually leave a couple of those outside for her to enjoy.

Hide-a-treat: To make the backyard a little more interesting and to really stimulate her senses I like to scatter some treats throughout the yard so she has to go on the hunt to find them. I will hide some of them on window ledges, in the grass, etc. so that she really has to think to find them all.

Something to be excited about: Cynder gets really excited when I come home from work because she knows that it means that it’s time to go play ball in the park. As soon as I get home she will run to the gate as if to say ‘I’m ready, let’s go’. She has figured this out into her routine and really has something to look forward to after being home alone all day. If you can’t take your dog for a walk, you could always use the time after you get home for a quick, ten-minute training session to really boost your dog’s confidence and strengthen your bond.

Longer lasting breakfast: Did you know that your dog is most likely to be destructive in the first hour after you leave the house? CynderLickingKongThat’s the time when they are the most worked up and will be searching for something to keep them interested. I like to make Cynder’s morning meal last a bit longer by either stuffing it into one of her Kong toys and sealing the top with peanut butter or vegemite, or by hiding it, like the treats, in a few locations around the yard.

The times that I’ve worked from home it’s been fascinating to see that Cynder actually sleeps most of the day anyway. She will be active for a while in the morning but spends a lot of time lounging about in the sun, sleeping the day away and leading a dog’s life.

Leave a comment and let me know how you stop your dog from tearing up your yard due to backyard boredom blues?


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  1. Hmmmmm…. might try the breakfast in a Kong idea!

  2. Those are some great tips! Fortunately, my yard is large enough for Shiner to explore and probably not get bored and destructive. Although I have caught her rummaging the trash, but she will do that in the house sometimes lol.

  3. Well, we have three dogs and you’d think they’d keep each other occupied, but our youngest does the most damage at times. We’ve started walking them move often (3 walks today). During the week, one long walk in the evening works well. I’m looking for interactive games we can play with them in the evening and morning too.

    • The Beagle used to still get up to mischief when Cynder was around. It’s just nature in some dogs for them to need other things to stimulate their minds.

      Do you know if there is a time when he is more likely to be playing up?

  4. On rainy days we play hide the treat and chuck the ball up the stairs. Sleeping sounds good. Have a marvelous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. Once we read the Border Collie part the boredom issue was a given…we love them but they do get bored so easily and always need a job to do. My sister and I are laid back, so no problems really with us and boredom.

  6. Excellent suggestions. Proper daily exercise is so important; especially for “working breeds”, like Border Collies. Used to look after one, named Max, who was quite destructive. (Also wrote a blog post about him.) Cynder is a beautiful dog!

  7. Cynder is lucky to be able to spend the day outdoors and you’ve got some good ideas there to keep her occupied…Only thing is, does she really like vegemite? Somehow I can’t see Gizmo enjoying it…cultural bias I guess 😉

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