Understand and reach your dog’s needs

Like us, Doggo needs many things for his day to be good and complete. Do you think you know your dog’s needs?

If his activities’ ratio isn’t reached, the day might seem veeeeery long to him.

And if he isn’t depressed, he will, without a doubt, find an occupation on his own, which might be at your expenses.

Kind of like a child who wouldn’t be cared for, without toys, without anything to do. There is a high risk that he behaves badly, isn’t there?

It’s the same with your dog.

A family dog needs an average of 4 to 5 hours of activity per day, and more if it’s a working breed dog, like border collies, german shepherds , for example.

Let’s see what your dog’s needs are and how to satisfy them.

The basics:

Just like us Humans, dogs have their own pyramid of needs.

A dog’s first need is to be safe. Our dogs are lucky, we offer them a roof and veterinary care. (Unfortunately, it’s not the case for all the Doggos in the world, even the ones living with a family).

If the dog feels safe, then he can think about eating.

It can feel stupid to specify it, but it is the priority for every dog who feels well.

Our family dog is often assured to eat his fill every day. He has his bowl, his kibble at his disposal, without having anything to do.

Too bad… we’ll see why below.

what your dog needs:

To make it simple and stay focused on what’s vital, here are the activities that any dog needs to have a good dog’s day.

  • physical or locomotive activity: running, walking, jumping… everything that offers movement to him.
  • games activity: playing is vital for your dog. Playing with you or another dog, even better! It fills social interaction needs and gives him the opportunity to play. Magic combo!
  • vocal activity: yes, barking is one of your dog’s needs. Like Humans, some of them talk more or louder than others.
  • chewing activity: your dog is chewing your furniture, blankets, socks? It means he has nothing better to get his teeth into to satisfy his need. There’s no point in grumbling against him, it’s biological!
  • intellectual activity: yes, you read correctly, your dog needs to think. Teaching him little tricks, asking him to find his toys, to put them back, to look for his food instead of giving him in a bowl… There are many things to do to satisfy this need.
  • sexual activity: castration reduces this need for our friends, so it’s yesterday’s news. But if your dog rubs a peer or your leg, you’ll know why. No need punishing him or reproaching it to him, it’s part of his biological needs and he doesn’t do it to make you uncomfortable…

If all of those activities are satisfied thanks to you, no risk for your Doggo to try to satisfy them by himself. No time or energy to destroy your furniture, terrorize the neighbor’s cat, chew your underwear or be depressed!

Help! I don’t have 5 hours per day!

Only a few people have the opportunity to dedicate 5 hours to their dog, between work, kids, leisure… Days are not extensible!

Yet, for your dog to be blooming, he needs general activity.

By chance, some activities don’t require your presence and some will burn your dog more than others! We’re saved!

Each of these activities needs to be satisfied and it is important to know that they don’t tire your dog in the same way.

Intellectual activity is harder for your dog than any other activity.

1 hour of intellectual stimulation is equal to 4 hours of physical activity!

The ideal is to mix all the activities in order for Doggo to satisfy them all, but occasionally we can compensate for the lack of time for one by doing more of another.

However, be careful! Every dog is different and can have more important needs for an activity or another.

It’s important to observe and understand your dog to know what’s indispensable++ for him.

In practice, it can be:

  • learning tricks like “play dead”, with the famous “bang!”. Not only will you mentally stimulate your dog, you will also develop some bond and you can impress your friends and neighbors.
  • look for your food! No more bowls with regular hours, you hide (somewhere he can find), you throw in the garden (first in a small corner, then in a larger area), you use a kong or any other distributor that makes Doggo think and work to get his meal. No, it’s not “mean” to do that. We go to work and do grocery shopping then cook a meal every day in order to eat. Doggo NEEDS to deserve his food and asks to be stimulated!
  • chewing: a kong (Thank God for this tool), a (real) beef ball joint, a chewing bone, playing with a rope (not with a puppy!!)… Anything that can keep him away from your couch or your jacket!
  • Go for a walk in a different place, to break out of your routine! It’s also important for your dog to smell new odors, it’s important for him to smell (it’s a dog!!). Of course it’s even better if he can meet friends and have interactions. Why not organize a walk with others?
  • Allow him to physically exert himself, by taking him for a run in the woods, on the beach, ride a bike with you. Why not try frisbee? 

If you don’t have time to go out, you can ask him to do push-ups! Sit down, lay down, get up, repeat around ten times. It will require focus and physical effort from him, while you’re sitting down on your couch drinking your… tea.

Don’t forget, in order to reinforce your dog’s good behaviours and his good decisions, we reward the behaviors we want and ignore the ones we don’t want!

If, in spite of your efforts, your dog keeps chewing the bottom of your table or considers your linen as his snack, don’t hesitate to contact me, so that we can find a solution together!

One Comment on “Understand and reach your dog’s needs

  1. Pingback: No to the bowl! (feeding your friend with intelligence) - Only Pawsitive Solutions

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