The dog's activity needs

What are the essential activity needs of dogs for their physical and mental well-being? How to fill them effectively?

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The dog's activity needs, essential needs

Like any living being, a dog has biological needs.

If we know our basic physiological needs such as eating, drinking or sleeping well, we often neglect our activity needs which are essential to our physical and mental well-being.

On average, a dog needs 3 to 5 hours of activity a day to feel good. However, most pet dogs are sorely lacking in occupation

Ignorance of these needs by the owner of the dog and a lack of stimulation on his part can be the cause of the appearance of several behavioral problems in the animal, which can make cohabitation human - particularly difficult animal.Let me be clear: no animal can be totally inactive. A dog that is left alone all day and is only walked for 15 minutes by its owners will not be happy and may develop undesirable behaviors linked to boredom (destruction, inopportune barking) or substitution activities that can put harming his well-being (excessive licking and self-harm etc.).

To avoid this, it is essential that the dog owner takes into account each of the needs of his animal, namely:

  • his need for vocal activity,
  • his need for intellectual activity,
  • his need for food and masticatory activity,
  • his need for physical activity,
  • his need for social activity.

The dog's need for vocal activity

If our dogs only lack speech, they nevertheless know how to communicate by expressing themselves "verbally" with great vocalizations, barking, growling, moaning and even howling.

So a dog that spends its time barking in the garden isn't just keeping watch, it can also simply expend excess unspent energy through another activity.

Also allow him to satisfy his need for vocal activity by giving him times when he can express himself freely. For example, let him growl or bark as he pleases during a play session.

The dog's need for intellectual activity

All dogs need mental stimulation. This goes through obedience exercises, education sessions with his master / mistress, research games that use his sense of smell or thinking games that ask him to solve problems.

Intellectual activity is ten times more tiring for the dog than physical activity or vocal activity. It is therefore particularly useful to help meet the activity needs of a family dog that does not have time to walk 2 to 3 hours every day!

To fill this need in your dog, give him time every day for an education session or learning a new trick. Also offer him to search for his food by hiding his kibble in the house, in the garden or in a search mat. Finally, invest in "intelligence games" that will mentally stimulate your pet.

The need for eating and chewing activity

Biologically, the dog's food activity needs are about 3 hours a day. These needs include the time the dog should take to find its food and to ingest it. However, in reality, a family dog only spends 5 to 20 minutes a day eating. And for good reason: he generally does not need to look for his food which is served to him directly in a bowl by his owner nor to chew it for a long time, in the case of dogs fed with croquettes or industrial pâtés.What about the remaining time? Well, he can spend it doing what his owner will consider silly things like nibbling on the legs of a chair in order to satisfy his chewing urge.

However, it is possible to find countermeasures to satisfy your dog's chewing needs by:

  • giving him bones, hooves, deer antlers to chew on,
  • giving him his kibble in a kibble dispenser, such as a cardboard cylinder/plastic bottle pierced with holes or a Pipolino®,
  • filling a Kong® type toy with kibble and cheese before putting it in the microwave to melt the cheese. It is also possible to garnish the Kong with minced meat or pâté before placing it in the freezer,
  • spreading his kibble over a large area: kitchen tiles, grass or even gravel,
  • giving him a knotted rope covered in mash,
  • etc.

Of course, it is also possible to increase the time devoted to masticatory activity by swapping the dog's industrial food for a BARF-type household diet which would include raw meat and fleshy bones (bones completely surrounded by raw meat). Beforehand, ask your veterinarian for advice on how to best balance your animal's ration.

The dog's physical activity needs

The need for physical activity is the dog's need that comes to mind first. It includes all the locomotor activities of the dog such as running, walking, jumping, swimming, playing or practicing a canine sport.

A lack of physical activity can result in behavioral problems such as dizziness, compulsive licking, wandering and running on the circle or even vertical jumps

It is therefore essential to offer your dog his daily dose of physical activity by going for a walk.Ideally, your dog should be able to benefit from at least one big outing per day (apart from "hygienic" outings) where he must have the opportunity to run free.

The social needs of the dog

Dogs are social animals that need contact with their peers to feel balanced. He must therefore be able to meet "dog-buddies" regularly in order to be able to have fun with them and communicate.

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