Animal Matters: Thinking of getting a dog? Then read on
It is indeed true that we occasionally admit dogs into our centre that have been physically abused or willfully neglected. Way more common by far, however, are the dogs that arrive with more subtle, yet equally damaging, psychological and behavioural issues.
We believe most of these are caused not by design but often through a worrying lack of understanding of a dog’s most basic needs and the damage caused if these are not met.
Separation anxiety, poor socialization, lack of basic training, and poor fitness are the most common issues we see on a daily basis to varying degrees; with many dogs, far too often, exhibiting all four at once!
Separation anxiety, caused mainly by being regularly left alone for long periods, can lead to an extremely stressed, depressed, unpredictable and unhappy dog. When Borders Pet Rescue look for potential new homes for a dog we look for households where the maximum time left alone would be around four hours. Indeed, for dogs with existing separation anxiety we would look for the dog to be very rarely left alone at all.
So if, as a household, your new dog would be left alone for say five hours or more on a regular basis please seriously consider the potential damage you could be doing to it.
Lack of socialization, caused mainly by a dog’s lack of involvement, stimuli and experience of the real world, is seen in dogs that are either not sufficiently exercised or are not exposed to a healthy variety of locations or situations within their lives. Clearly it’s obvious that the two issues of separation anxiety and poor socialization are closely linked. For a dog to be comfortable and confident with the world it needs to be constantly exposed to life in all its guises. Constructive exposure to other dogs will mean that it is more likely to get along with them since it knows the rules that need to be adhered to. Similarly, positive interaction with a diverse group of people should result in a dog that is less likely to be fearful around humans and friendlier as a result. Dogs that spend most of the day alone in a house can have serious behavioural issues as a result. Separation anxiety and lack of socialization are often linked and are major barriers to developing a fulfilled and well adjusted dog.