Dogs are extremely social animals, and do not thrive without adequate companionship. In the wild, dogs form packs and groups to provide for this need, but in a domestic setting, plenty of time spent with their favourite people is vital to them, even if they have another dog as a companion too.
Every dog owner knows that dogs are a high-maintenance pet that cannot be left alone for long periods of time, and that spending plenty of time with your dog is vital for their happiness and wellbeing. But as well as being physically present and taking care of your dog’s physical needs such as food, walks and veterinary care, it is also important to pro-actively provide companionship and interaction for your dog, in order to keep them happy and reinforce the bond between you.
Read on to learn more about how to ensure you spend quality time with your dog and provide for all of their companionship needs.
Simply sitting quietly with your dog watching TV, working or reading a book with your dog sleeping quietly at your feet can be a rewarding and pleasant experience for dog and owner, and dogs like to feel close to their people, even if they are not physically interacting with them all the time.
But it is important that you also pro-actively engage with your dog and make provision to spend time with them every day where your dog is the main focus of your attention, and they feel loved, listened to, and as if they are at the centre of your world.
Here are some ways in which you can do this:
While companionship is absolutely vital for dogs of all types, spending all day every day with them 24/7 can actually be counterproductive. A dog that spends plenty of quality time with their owner will be a happy, well balanced dog, but your dog should also be happy on the occasions when they have to be left on their own sometimes too, and not become distressed or fretful about this because they are not used to it.
It is important to teach your dog that they will need to be left by themselves sometimes, and to train your dog to settle down and be calm and not anxious while awaiting your return. If your dog receives enough stimulation and companionship from you every day, this should not be difficult to achieve. Never leave your dog on their own for longer than four hours at a time, and ensure that your dog comes to learn when to expect you back, and that you will be pleased to see them and have not abandoned them for good!
Try to ensure that returning and greeting your dog is a rewarding experience for them, and that when you return after having been away for a few hours, something positive will come out of the wait, such as play, walking or something else that your dog enjoys doing with you.