Meeting Your Dog’s Emotional And Physical Needs
Dogs vary in many ways from size colour, breed and temperament. However, all dogs have the same basic needs when it comes to their care. In basic terms, care has two aspects to it: physical care and emotional care. This is the case, whatever the age of the dog.
All dogs need food and water, exercise, grooming and a place to sleep. Food should be appropriate for the size, age and type of dog and should provide all the quality, variety and nutrition needed to satisfy the dog. Grooming the dog fulfils two functions: to keep her healthy and looking good and to establish and maintain the relationship and bond between you. A place for the dog to sleep is as important for a dog as it is for a human and provides his own place for him to go. Exercise is important in keeping the dog healthy, alert and stimulated. Dogs need differing types and amounts of exercise dependent upon their age and health. Do not be fooled that the amount of exercise a dog needs depends upon its size. A small dog, especially the terrier types, can often need as much exercise as larger dogs whilst some large dogs will get by on shorter bursts of exercise.
Just as important as the physical care and wellbeing of a dog is their emotional wellbeing. People who own dogs and manage dogs need to think about their feelings because dogs have core emotions as humans do. Dogs need to be given enough social contact with other dogs and with people, to live an emotionally normal life. They need companionship and interaction to develop and sustain their well being. Giving a dog a favourite toy to play with from the dyrehandel offers pleasure and comfort. As dogs are now domestic animals, owners have a responsibility to ensure emotional needs are as high on the priority list as their physical needs.
From the onset, dogs need to be socialised with as many other dogs as possible. There are puppy classes, where puppies learn to socialise with other dogs. A walk in the park will also bring dogs into contact with each other. The same goes for socialisation with people. When this is done effectively most of the behaviour problems that may occur later on can be avoided. Being handled by other people will also help in socialising her and in supporting her to become emotionally secure. It is this emotional security which will affect the way in which dogs learn. From an early age, a dog needs to learn effective communication with other dogs and people. This is done through their body language such as tail movements, eye contact and head movements. A dog’s senses are much more highly tuned than those of people, as is their awareness. They are able to notice the slightest change in facial expressions or movements.
For a dog to gain this emotional security, an owner needs to provide the dog with framework which allows this to happen. Dogs need positive reinforcement rather than negative. If a dog jumps up, you can tell him to get down and when he does, tell him he is a good dog, give him a treat for doing as he is told or pet him, giving a positive message. Alternatively, you can shout at her, or treat her harshly, giving negative feedback.
I know which form of treatment I would prefer, both for the dog’s wellbeing and the relationship between dog and owner.