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A Lonely Dog

Ways to keep your dog from being a lonely dog


Dogs are pack animals. They have a need to socialize to keep from being a lonely dog. The domestication of dogs has been a huge success. As a result, dogs need to socialize with humans as well as other dogs. You, the dog owner are the human that your dog needs to spend time with since you are the center of your dog's world.


Dogs need more than food, water and shelter. To some degree, they are like children. They don't think like children, and they don't need as many clothes as children, (a raincoat and winter coat at the most) but they do need an education (training) and need to socialize with other dogs and people, to become a well behaved member of your community. And, like children, they need love, attention, and exercise. It's the love, attention, and exercise that keeps your dog from being a lonely dog, that this article is about.


When you have a busy schedule, it's easy to relegate taking a walk with your dog, playing with your dog, or even grooming your dog to taking a back seat to all of the other tasks that you have lined up. Frequently, the end of your day comes and you never did get to take a walk or play with your dog, or even spend some quiet time with your dog. Along with that, your dog can pick up your body language and tone of voice better than most humans. If you're depressed, have high anxiety, are stressed out, or worried about your job, your dog senses that and can become anxious and depressed also. Even well adjusted dogs suffer isolation and become lonely dogs when left alone while you're away and left alone or ignored most of the time when you're home. Making time for your dog may not be as easy as you would like it to be, but it doesn't have to require a Herculean effort on your part. You can be with your dog without spending the time that you don't have.


Here are some suggestions to help keep your dog from being a lonely dog:


1.    Take your dog with you when you run errands. She will happily jump into your car just to be with you. Even if she has to stay in the car alone for a while, at least it's new scenery and new smells. It's a good way to spend one-on-one time together. (You should leave your dog home if you're going to have to leave her in the car for an hour or more, or if it's a hot day). If you're errands involve other people, it's a chance for your dog to socialize with someone other than you.


2.     Let your dog sleep in the bedroom. You don't have to invite her on the bed; she can sleep in her own bed that you provide for her. Preferably in a corner or next to your bed. (If there is any possible dominance problem with your dog, don't let her sleep on the bed with you). Letting your dog sleep in your bedroom gives her a greater sense of security.


3.    Spend time in activities that you both enjoy. Taking a long quiet walk with your dog does wonders in reducing your stress and helps keep your dog from being a lonely dog. Sometimes I ask my dog what she thinks I should do about some of the problems I may have. She obviously doesn't answer me, but it lets me hear the problem as well as think about it, and sometimes a solution or a decision just seems to jump into my head. You can go exploring with your dog, or go to different parks or exercise yards. Most dogs like to explore new areas with new sights and smells.


4.    You can learn or perfect the art of multi-tasking. If you're working in the house, such as cleaning or cooking, you can give your dog some of the training commands you've taught her. Tell her to do something, like a sit stay or a down stay. Then after an appropriate time, give her some praise or a treat. That doesn't take much time from you work, and it gives your dog some attention. You can even invite her up on the couch while you read or watch TV, and pet her. That's quality time.


5.    If you live in a multi-person household, share the responsibility with other members of the household. It's easier for you and it's healthier for your dog. She gets to interact with the other members of your household and it gives you some time to do the things that require your full attention. Other members of your household, including children if they're not too young, can share the walking, playing and grooming your dog. Of course, your dog has to know that all the humans in your house are higher in the hierarchy than she is. And you children have to know the basic rules of dog-walking etiquette, such as leash laws, poop scooping and dog-on-dog protocol, etc.


6.    Suggestion number 4 assumes that you've taught your dog some of the basic obedience commands. If you haven't, now's the time to start. Not only does training your dog in basic obedience give you quality time with your dog, it also makes it much easier for you to take him with you. You can take your dog to a sidewalk café and put him in a down stay while you have your lunch. You can even bring some of his treats with you so that he gets some treats while you eat your lunch. I've taken my greyhound to a Starbucks that has outside tables. One day that I did that the manager came out and offered my dog some water. Everybody including the Starbuck's manager enjoyed the experience. And training your dog can take as little as ten to twenty minutes a day. It's a small investment with a great reward. And it helps in keeping your dog from being a lonely dog.


To learn more about dog training, go to: Dog Training

Hopefully these suggestions will help you and your dog have a happy and fulfilled life together.


A trained dog is a happy dog and has a happy owner



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