One reason people adopt a pet is because animals make great companions. Whether we're talking about their dependability, empathy, or watchfulness, dogs make great companions.
Dogs make great pals because they are natural pack animals. The name of a group of dogs is a pack...hence they are "pack" animals.
Why Do Dogs Get Lonesome?
The fall oftentimes brings with it poor behavior from our dogs. This change in behavior often has several factors including changes in the home (like kids going back to school), as well as shorter days and less exercise.
Why Dogs Need Socialization
Just like people are designed to live in community, dogs need a certain amount of socialization to be healthy.. Leaving our dog home all day after adopting them into our family, our dog will feel isolated, even to the point of having physical and psychological problems. Unfortunately leaving a TV or radio on does not satisfy their need for community, in part because they are scent oriented more than visual or auditory.
Aside from needing interaction, dogs need to let out their natural energy. When they dont get the exercise they need it can again negatively impact their physical and mental health. Combined with loneliness, this becomes a behavioral powderkeg.
Signs Your Pal is Lonely
There are definitely symptoms your dog is suffering from being lonely. These include:
chewing on themselves
males will mark the house
obsessive tail chasing
If you pay attention to these symptoms early, you'll avoid the headache of trying to "discipline" bad behavior.
Treatment for Lonely Dogs
The only cure for loneliness is compaionships, and you may not be able to provide it personally. There are several things you can do to help cure your dog's loneliness:
Adopt a second dog. As we've stated, the dog's natural social environment is a group. Consider adopting a second dog if you're a single-pet home. Multiple dogs in a home is a natural socialization environment, as long as they are in close proximity.
Invest in doggie daycare. A reputable doggie daycare provides plenty of space and opportunity for your pal to expend some of her energy, but also to get the much needed attention from other animals. Even 2-3 days per week will increase the mental and physical health of your pooch.
Make frequent visits to dog parks. There are plenty of dog parks, especially in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. If you're outside the Tampa area, just Google dog parks or search a directory like DogPark.com. This will allow both you and your "best friend" to make some friends, get some exercise and breathe some fresh air.
Get an interactive toy. Interactive toys include things like the chew toys with a treat inside, dog puzzles, and such. These will work for a short time, but is not a long-term solution being they fail to provide actual interaction or socialization. This can be great if there will be a day or two where you may not be around as much as normal. If it becomes a more regular occurrence, you'll want to investigate one of the other options.
Our dogs are there for us through good times and bad. Let's make sure we're looking out for their best interest too!
by: Ann Stewart