By Robert Cabral, dog trainer and member of the Wag! Advisory Board
While we may all enjoy a little “alone time,” I don’t think any creature enjoys loneliness, especially our dogs. Our BFFs — best furry friends — have coevolved with us for so many thousands of years that there’s a belief they actually prefer human company to that of other dogs. I think it’s true, and I even see it in my personal dogs. Often, one will leave the comfort of a soft bed to lie on the not-so-comfy floor next to my desk – like right now: Goofy is lying next to me while Maya has chosen to stay in bed!
Your schedule changes may lead to your dog’s loneliness
Dogs may often feel lonely when things change. Say, for example, when your schedule changes. You or your kids may spend a lot of time during the summer months taking your dog with you everywhere. Then, about this time of year, summer is over, school’s back in session, and you and your kids get busy with other things. Who’s going to tell you that your dog may need a little more attention? Me!
Giving your dog needed attention
There are several things to do to cure your dog’s loneliness, including simply making sure you’re scheduling some special time with your pup. That could be as simple as early morning or late-afternoon walks, or regularly setting aside five to ten minutes to give your pooch a nice brushing or massage.
But remember, what a dog needs most is our presence. So, if a work or family project is temporarily filling your schedule, maybe you can ask a neighbor to stop in and spend some time with your dog. Or you might consider taking him to doggie daycare to get some of those zoomies out of his system and meet some new friends. Of course, always check to make sure that your dog will be safe with other dogs before leaving him there.
Walks, playtime, and companionship
Giving a dog a nice big bone to chew or even an interactive toy to play with will keep his mind occupied, and that can alleviate the boredom factor that leads to loneliness. Get your dog a good midday walk and he’ll feel much better. If you don’t have enough time or a willing neighbor, you can use the Wag! app and book a walk — and more! Wag! now offers drop-in service, where a vetted pet care provider will come by your house just to check on your dog! You can also schedule daycare at a vetted walker’s home in half-day or all-day increments.
Remember, the best thing for any dog that is bored, sad, or stressed is companionship and movement. It’s the least we can provide such a trusted and loyal friend.