Recognizing your dogs social needs

Dogs are social animals that don't do well being isolated. For example, if you work, you likely have to leave your dog alone at home. Then when you get home, your dog is terribly excited and wants to play and be with you. But you may also go out in the evening, leaving your dog alone again.

Sometimes, your dog retaliates. In our younger (and more socially active) days, we had a lovely, well-trained Collie named Duke. Both of us worked, and we frequently went out in the evening. If we went out three days in a row, Duke would urinate on our bed. It took us a while to figure out this pattern; we solved the problem by not going out three days in a row, or by taking Duke with us.

Daycare centers for dogs are being established in many communities. You can leave your dog for the day without having to feel guilty about not giving him time to socialize. If you simply don't have the time to give your dog the attention he craves, consider finding a daycare center for your dog. Their popularity is proof of the need for these services. Your dog will spend his day playing and interacting with other dogs and having a good time. Perhaps the best feature, depending on your perspective, is that when you pick up Buddy on your way home, he'll be too tired to make many demands on you. In addition to keeping Buddy entertained and amused, many dog daycare facilities provide other services such as bathing, grooming, and training.

A potential downside of doggie daycare is that Buddy may think it's playtime whenever he meets another dog, making him hard to control around other dogs. Other potential downsides are possible exposure to disease and parasites, trauma due to inexperienced handling by daycare personnel, and personal liability for Buddy's actions.

MER Just like with any behavior, when it comes to exercise, your dog has a certain amount of energy. After Buddy has expended that energy, he is tired, and tired dogs have happy owners. If that energy isn't expended, it may redirect itself into barking, chewing, digging, house soiling, self-mutilation, and similar behaviors — clearly not what you have in mind for the well-trained pet.

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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