"Can Dogs Make Owners Feel Guilty?

"Can Dogs Make Owners Feel Guilty?

Pet Psychology

Many dog owners know when their beloved pooches give them a certain"" look it's because they are displeased with them. Owners can also find their pets lounging around with a bored and very dejected expression on their faces which can leave them feeling rather guilty. But are these feelings of guilt really warranted or are owners making more out of the situation?

The answer is yes – dogs can make owners feel guilty and this is especially true if you don't give them enough exercise. Walking your dog and playing interactive games with them is a brilliant form of mental stimulation that our canine friends need on a regular basis. It keeps them happy, healthy and content with their very existence. If you own a young dog, you may find that if you don't take them out for their regular walk they show signs of restlessness and sheer displeasure which of course, makes you feel very guilty!

Dogs Need Regular Exercise and Then a Bit More

If you don't give your pet enough regular exercise or play games with them either, their restlessness can increase and if you don't pay attention to these early signs of unhappiness, then you could be setting yourself up for some very unwanted behavioural problems. You would need to rethink your daily routine in order to satisfy your dog's need for exercise so that you keep that dejected look off their faces whilst at the same time solving your own ""guilt"" issues.

Dogs Need to be Stimulated

All dogs no matter what age they might be or what breed they are, need three kinds of stimulation to stay happy and healthy. These are:

  • Social stimulation
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Physical stimulation

When it comes to the amount of stimulation a dog needs on a daily basis really does depend on the character and nature of the dog but as a rule of thumb, all dogs need to go out for a walk at least twice a day and owners need to play lots of interactive games with their pets that involve simple problem solving things to more difficult and challenging ones.

Dogs Love Social Stimulation

Dogs need and love social stimulation. They like to meet new people, dogs and other animals which means they build up their own network of ""buddies"" which enriches their lives no end. Out on walks, dogs will sniff at all those lovely aromas left behind by other dogs and this provides them with lots of intellectual stimulation that they will proceed to process long after they've returned home. The rule of thumb is the more a dog thinks about things, the better it is for them and it doesn't need to be anything too complex, it just has to be things they find engaging.

Great Games to Play To Keep Your Dog ""Engaged""

One really good ""engaging"" game to play with your dog is hide and seek. It's also a great training opportunity because you get your dog to practice sitting and waiting while hide a treat or a favourite toy for them to find. You then tell them to go and search for it which they adore doing because they know at the end of their search, they'll get a reward!

All interactive games are great when it comes to engaging your dog which is why it's such a good idea to take a favourite toy out on walks so you can play fetch with your pet. It's never a very good idea to use a stick that you may find on the ground, because it could splinter and break when you dog catches it which could result in them hurting themselves. It's far better to take a frisbee, a largish ball or a favourite toy for your dog to play with when out on a walk.

The All-important Mental Stimulation

You should never underestimate the importance of mental stimulation which can be done on a daily basis without a second thought. Just by talking to your pet, asking them to do things like wait, lie down, sit or anything else you would like them to do for you iss a form of mental stimulation for them. Talking to your dog engages them and makes them aware of the world around them too.

Physical Exercise is Essential to a Dog's Well-being

The younger a dog is the more physical exercise they will need. If you don't take them out on walks so they use up all that energy they boast inside of them, be prepared for a few sullen and dejected looks which naturally make you feel very guilty. In order to keep a good balance so your pooch is tired out at the end of a walk, you would need to crank up the exercise routine.

However, an older dog might be quite happy to tootle along, sniffing as dogs do and being quite content to sit quietly in their baskets when you get home. You probably won't have to put up with any of those ""dejected"" looks which means everyone is happy. The same goes for certain smaller breeds of dog although it really does depend on their characters and nature because some little canines really enjoy a long walk whereas others are quite content with a quick jaunt round the block!


Owning a dog is very much like bringing up a child and each canine boasts their own individual character and personality which means owners have a great time getting to know their pet's little idiosyncracies and requirements. That's all part of the fun of sharing your life and home with a dog and why it's a huge responsibility to take one on. If you want to avoid any of those ""I'm a dejected dog"" looks that our furry friends are so good at showing, you need to make sure your pet is well fed, that they have plenty of exercise, that you play physical and mental games with them which all adds up to a happy, healthy and contented dog and one that won't give you any of those sullen, bored looks!


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