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Three Questions on dog behaviour



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 18th 04, 12:13 AM
Nick
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Default Three Questions on dog behaviour

I am thinking of buying a Havanese toy dog for the family, the only trouble
is my wife is disabled and unable to walk a dog and she works part time 4
mornings a week and the kids are at school. My questions are
1) Is 5 hours a day too long to leave a small dog that loves companionship
(We do have 2 cats but I don't know if cats count as companions.
2) If these dogs need companionship so badly how will it get on if we leave
it shut downstairs on its own at night.
3) Will a small dog like this need to go for a walk everyday or will it be
OK to walk it at weekends only.
Note: It will have access to the garden day and night by using the cat flap,
does this count as exercise and will this help to stop it from being lonely
in the day.

Nick




  #2  
Old May 18th 04, 01:44 AM
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On Tue, 18 May 2004 00:13:08 +0100 Nick whittled these words:
I am thinking of buying a Havanese toy dog for the family, the only trouble
is my wife is disabled and unable to walk a dog and she works part time 4
mornings a week and the kids are at school. My questions are
1) Is 5 hours a day too long to leave a small dog that loves companionship
(We do have 2 cats but I don't know if cats count as companions.
2) If these dogs need companionship so badly how will it get on if we leave
it shut downstairs on its own at night.
3) Will a small dog like this need to go for a walk everyday or will it be
OK to walk it at weekends only.
Note: It will have access to the garden day and night by using the cat flap,
does this count as exercise and will this help to stop it from being lonely
in the day.


I think you will get a lot out of the book "The Body Language and
Emotions of Dogs" by M. Milani. It helps sort out the dog's social needs
and what you can expect in various situations. Most dogs that make good
companions will be very distressed to be shut away from the family at the
time they feel the most vulnerable - at night during sleep. People do
it, and many dogs do get used to it. Many, but not all, undergo a fair
amount of distress in the process of getting used to it. Some never
learn to accept it. Dogs that tend to accept it well from the beginning
are often independent minded and do well because they don't give a fig
about their people in the first place.

Exercise is something that most dogs don't do when alone, except possibly
fence running which is often (again but not always) a cause for concern.
Access to the garden gives some very small relief from boredom, I
certainly wouldn't call it exercise. It is sufficient for some dogs, but
for many they will make up for the lack of stimulation by finding
fun things to do that are usually not appreciated.

5 hours a day isn't too long, if the dog isn't shut away the rest of the
time.

I guess the question is - what do you envision doing with the dog on a
daily basis? You have made a realistic assessment of what you can't
provide. This is very good. Its an important step. Now to consider
what you can provide. If you aren't actively engaged with enjoying the
dog daily then perhaps you may want to reconsider whether a dog is the
right choice. Even if the dog can't be taken for a long walk daily
there should be active things that can be done so the dog receives
physical and mental stimulation daily. And daily interaction is just
a part of social bonding. Also the breed requires regular grooming.

I think getting the book will help you figure out whether you can
realistically meet the dog's needs and have an enjoyable companion. You
are showing some thought and concern in this area, and I'm sure having a
better understanding of WHY the dog needs what it does will better help
you decide if you can meet those needs creatively.

--
Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com/
http://dog-play.com/shop2.html
 




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