If so, your dog may very well be a lazy Lassie. There's nothing wrong with this per se — after all, humans have all sorts of different personalities so why shouldn't our dogs be the same? — but it's important to ensure that your dog's laziness doesn't affect her health. By ensuring that your lazy pooch gets plenty of regular exercise and eats well, you'll be able to set her up for many happy years of enjoying life at her own pace.
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Signs Your Dog is Lazy
The signs of a so-called lazy dog are usually plain to see. Often found curled up on the lounge or sprawled out on the carpet, these pooches love nothing more than just sitting back and watching the world go by. Rather than sprinting anywhere, they prefer to amble. Instead of jumping up excitedly to greet a visitor, they'll show their interest by raising their head a couple of inches and giving a slight wag of the tail.
Dinner time may be the only thing that sees them move at a speed that could even remotely be described as quick, but even then these dogs still don't like to be rushed. Lazy dogs are easy, unworried, and peaceful pets, and they make wonderful companions for anyone with a similarly laidback approach to life.
- Head tilting
- Ears drop
- Reluctance to exercise
- Walking rather than running
- Weight gain
The History of Lazy Dogs
Humans spent thousands of years breeding dogs to perform tasks like hunting and guarding, and while they also became our companions during this time, they still had important jobs to do.
It's only in more recent times that we may have been more willing to encourage laziness in our canine companions. One can quite easily imagine that the Toy Poodles that were popular with the French court in the 17th and 18th centuries got their fair share of pampering, and were often allowed to indulge their inner couch potatoes.
Throughout the 20th century, as dogs moved from backyards and front porches and into our homes, opportunities for relaxation have only increased. When a dog can spread out on a comfy sofa in air-conditioned comfort, what's to stop him staying there for an hour or three if he's so inclined?
The Science of Lazy Dogs
Next, we need to acknowledge the fact that dogs have their own unique personalities and temperaments. One Labrador might be a lounge lizard, while its brother or sister could be an enthusiastic bundle of energy.
Then there's the old nature vs nurture debate to consider. Many scientists have posed the question of whether humans have made dogs lazy through domestication, often with interesting results.
One Oregon State University study took 10 wolves, 10 pet dogs and 10 shelter dogs, from a variety of breeds and mixes, and then asked them to solve a puzzle box to get to the food reward inside. 8 out of 10 wolves cracked the puzzle, but only 1 of the dogs did. The rest of the dogs looked to humans for guidance and assistance.
Numerous studies have also linked obesity in pets to obesity in owners, so if you struggle to find the motivation to get out there and exercise, there's a good chance your pooch will adopt a similar approach.
Helping Lazy Dogs Stay Healthy
Sometimes the new sights, smells, sounds, and experiences mixing up your routine provides can be all the motivation an easy-going dog needs to get moving.
The right diet is also crucial. The calorie intake of a dog that is happy spending most of its day trying out new sleeping positions will most likely be quite different to that of a working animal or a pooch or accompanies its owner for a five-mile run every morning. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what to feed your dog and how much to give her, and remember to go easy on those fatty, unhealthy treats.
As long as your dog gets enough activity and stays in a healthy weight range, the two of you can feel free to spend a whole lifetime of lazy afternoons together.
How to React to a Change in Activity Levels
Know your dog's personality. If your previously active dog all of a sudden turns into a couch potato, it could be the sign of a deeper problem.
Watch for medical problems. Lethargy, exercise intolerance and a general reluctance to get active could be potential indicators of a wide range of health issues, so get your veterinarian to check your pet for any underlying problems.
A switch to laziness and inactivity could also be a sign that your dog is suffering from depression. It can be caused by a sudden change, experiencing a trauma, or even a change in the weather. If you think your pet might have depression, speak to your veterinarian.