Why should you spend time with your dog?
Dogs are social animals.
Their evolution included living in packs with a dominant, or alpha, male and female.
This tells us two things.
First, your dog needs companionship.
She doesn't need it every minute of every day, but she does need some attention, daily.
Second, you're the alpha in her life.
She looks to you for direction, just as she would defer to the alpha male and female if she was still living in a pack.
The alphas were also quick to correct problems in the pack, disciplining wayward members of the pack.
As they grew, dogs bonded to the pack they lived in, and learned that they needed to behave if they wanted the attention and friendship that went with living in the pack.
Your household (even if you're the only member) is your dog's pack.
She wants to fit in.
She wants to obey you, the alpha.
And she wants — even needs — the social interactions you or other members of the household can give her.
(In Regular Exercise we'll discuss ways to ensure that she gets face time with other dogs, which she also needs.)
She needs more than that.
Without that attention she craves, she may develop psychological or behavioral problems.
These easily preventable problems include constant barking, howling, and destructive acts (for example, digging up the yard or chewing things).
Children who are ignored by their parents soon learn that even negative attention (scoldings, punishment) is better than no attention at all.
Dogs learn this too, although, like children, they'd much rather have positive attention.
Spend time with your dog.
If you consider her part of the family, please treat her like a valuable member.
Pay attention to her, the way she pays attention to you.
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