Are You Satisfying Your Dog’s Emotional Needs?

You love your dog and you do the best you can to provide for his needs, but are you satisfying your dog’s emotional needs? That may sound like a strange question, but think about it for a little while.

You provide your dog with the basics – food, shelter and water. You do your best to keep him healthy by regular vet visits and feeding him nutritional foods and treats. Your dog also gets plenty of exercise from daily walks or visits to the local dog park. For your dog’s emotional needs, you provide toys, love, attention and more.

But, is all of this enough to satisfy your dog’s emotional needs?

Your Dog’s Emotional Needs

While surfing the internet this morning, I came across an article by Marc Bekoff Ph.D. entitled “Dogs Want and Need Much More Than They Usually Get From Us”.

The title of the article intrigued me, so, of course, I read it. The following statement in the article made me stop and think:

“It might surprise people to learn that numerous companion dogs who are fortunate enough to share their life with a human are highly stressed, but when you think about it, they’re always trying to adapt to a human-oriented/dominated world in which their wants and needs are secondary to those of their own and other humans.” – Marc Bekoff Ph.D. Psychology Today

He goes on to state the following:

“… We teach dogs that they can’t pee or poop wherever they want. To eliminate, they must get our attention and ask for permission to go outside the house. When we go outside, we often restrain dogs with a leash or fence them within yards or parks. Dogs eat what and when we feed them, and they are scolded if they eat what or when we say they shouldn’t. Dogs play with the toys we give them, and they get in trouble for turning our shoes and furniture into toys. Most of the time, our schedule and relationships determine who dogs play with and who their friends will be.” – Marc Bekoff Ph.D. Psychology Today

In reality, it is necessary to “control” your dog. In order to coexist with you and other people, your dog needs to understand what acceptable and unacceptable behavior is. Living in the city, your dog needs to be restrained by fence or leash to protect him from harm.

But, have you ever really thought about what your dog is giving up to be with you?

A Dog’s Point of View

Dr. Bekoff referred to a video entitled “Downward Dog”. This video really made an impression on me. If you have the time, the following video is definitely worth watching.


If you’re like me, you may wonder what your dog is thinking about during certain situations or during those times when he’s alone. We’ll probably never know the answers to this.

For me, the video definitely brings up some intriguing and depressing thoughts. I realize the content of the video is not based on any scientific data, but it is still very thought provoking.

Neglecting Your Dog’s Emotional Needs

Your Dog Emotional NeedsNo dog lover would intentionally neglect their dog’s emotional needs, but many of us probably do this at one time or another. There are times when this is beyond our control due to certain circumstances.

All of us are always busy. Life can get quite hectic at times and, for many of us, it seems like we’re going in several directions constantly. There are many things on our “To Do” list that keeps getting bumped further down and that includes our dog’s emotional needs. I know I’m guilty of this.

Sometimes, without meaning to, you may even take your dog for granted. He’s always there for you. Your dog makes you happy and he’s always ready to do things with you. If life gets hectic, you can always spend time with your dog later. Your dog will wait patiently until you have more time. Your dog is always there for you.

Final Thoughts on Dog’s Emotionally Needs

As I write this post, I realize that I need to spend more quality time with our dog. Life is hectic now, but my dog doesn’t understand this. She gets so excited when it’s time for our walk or when I take the time to include her in other activities.

Just being at home with her isn’t enough to meet her emotional needs. This is something that I definitely need to improve. Our dog is a senior now and she has some health issues so our time with her is limited. Even if she was a young dog, there’s no guarantee that she would live to a ripe old age.

All of us dog lovers need to get better at satisfying the emotional needs of our dogs. Isn’t the effort worth your dog’s unconditional love? I certainly think so.

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