Sunday, December 10, 2023

Four Basic Dog Need


In today’s day and age, dogs have become part of the family, and more dog owners view them as their “fur babies” rather than a pet. We spoil them with toys, treats and accessories; we shower them with endless love and affection. But do you truly know what your dog actually needs to be happy?

Dogs are not humans; they don’t think like us, and they don’t understand language like we do. They don’t process emotion the way we do. And many will fight me tooth and nail on this one: many owners truly believe that their dog understands everything they say. What your dog is actually reacting to is your energy. If you use an excited voice, your dog will get excited. If you are sad, scared, stressed, or angry, your dog will get anxious. If you are calm, ideally your dog will be calm with you. This is not always the case in today’s society, as we are way too busy to fulfill Fido’s needs in order for them to feel relaxed and happy.

What are a dog’s basic needs?

  1. Feeling safe is the most basic need of every dog, and is many times the main culprit for behavioural issues.
  2. Physical and mental stimulation is a close second; again, if not fulfilled, may lead to a plethora of unwanted behaviours.
  3. Clear understanding of consistent rules and boundaries. Unlike us, dogs don’t see grey areas; only black and white, right and wrong.
  4. Of course, love and affection. Dogs are social animals, and require a lot of social time surrounded by other humans or dogs in order to feel happy. One-on-one affection is wonderful, but new experiences, scents, and adventures are things that truly are fulfilling to a dog.

Don’t forget, every breed and every dog is slightly different. Some need more physical stimulation, some more mental, and some more behavioural boundaries. At the end of the day, if you are struggling with behavioural issues with your pooch, chances are that one of the four basic dog needs aren’t being fulfilled.

Mary Nebesny
Mary Nebesny
Mary is the co-owner/co_founder of Family Pet Services in Campbellville with her husband, Cameron. Their extensive knowledge of dog behaviour and psychology allows them to integrate dogs into a “pack environment”, where they feel safe and secure, and never lonely. Address: 12061 Guelph Line, Campbellville, Ontario, L0P 1B0 Phone: +1(289)242-7986 Email:

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