I’m what my therapist calls a challenge. I dodge his impolite and nosy questions with feigned umbrage, disgust and a razor-sharp wit. Trust me, I’m much more vicious in person without the face-saving filter of edit, rewrite and repeat
I frequently tell him to stop looking at me, to pretend that I’m a visually unappealing lamp in the corner. The lamp is an anxious lamp- it’s digging deeper into the root cause of it’s generalized stress, intense anxiety and a near-complete detachment from its own body, it’s own frame. The lamp has some pretty significant trust issues too, and a wide streak of self-destruction. The lamp has never really dealt with a childhood trauma so it is uncomfortable in its own brass and wiring. This means that the Watching Man who watches everything, armed with lots of questions and letters after his name, makes the lamp feel uncomfortable. It is disconcerting to the lamp to be seen, to be watched. It is stressful.
Why are you looking at me? Can’t you look at the wall? Are you making sexy eyes at me again, Dr. Sexy Man?
As you can see, that lamp has problems…
Coincidentally, April is National Stress Awareness Month, and though I’m sure it was designed for those of us with two lone legs, it started me thinking about stress reduction and boredom prevention for dogs as well.
Through my experiences managing the Enrichment program at work, I continually learn new ways to engage shelter animals. Novel techniques and creative devices, new activities and different stimuli; it’s quite fascinating and I try to bring at least this part of my job home with me.
I want to care for the full range of my dogs’ needs, I want them to be whole and complete and happy and, well, the list goes on. I want them to be as healthy psychologically, emotionally and socially as they are physically and medically, so my dogs get lots of enrichment. I wish more dog owners thought about the day-to-day lives of their dogs.
What is he doing all day? Is he bored watching you watch TV? Does he get playtime everyday? Does he have the right type of toys for his body and his brain? Does he have a variety of toys? Does he get time and space to just be a dog, to be a dog with other dogs, to run wild with the wind, to playbow then bite then rough and tumble roll through the dirt?
I wish more dog owners considered the psychological, emotional and social needs of their dogs and how these needs, gone unmet, can morph into something bigger, manifesting as behavioral and medical problems. I don’t want any more dogs out there feeling like a lamp.
That’s why I was thrilled to see that Puppy Leaks is thinking about these things. Puppy Leaks recently posted 26 Quick Ways To Relieve Dog Boredom. Here is the list reprinted with permission. Oh, and the photos below are Puppy Leaks as well.
Thank you, Jen, for allowing me to share your thoughts, ideas and your work. To read the entire post, which includes a fantastic introduction and discussion about boredom and dogs, click here. It’s definitely worth the read, folks!
26 Quick Ways to Relieve Dog Boredom
by Puppy Leaks