Dogs love having their humans around all the time. Here's why.
It’s no secret that we are all suffering from quarantine fatigue. We are all sick of lockdowns and business closures and social distancing. Well, the humans are sick of it anyway.
You know who loves having you trapped at home? Your dog.
It makes them so happy. The pandemic is the best thing that ever happened to your dog.
In the distant past of early 2020 it was much harder being a dog. Before the pandemic most of us would get up every morning, gulp down some coffee and head off to work.
Our furry friends would spend the day guarding the house, maybe napping a bit, and staring sadly out the window counting down the minutes to the humans returned. Ten long, lonely hours later we would finally come home. Our dogs would be ecstatic, but we would be tired and distracted.
Sure, there would probably be a nice walk before or after work, maybe a round of fetch in the yard, but it was not enough. Our dogs would hang out with us for four, maybe five hours, before it was time for bed.
Dogs, like us, lived for the weekend. Weekend were when all the fun happened.
But now every day is like a weekend, at least from your pet’s perspective. The humans are home all day, every day. So much together time is a dog’s dream.
It’s the best thing ever — for the dogs. I am pretty sure they all hope we stay home forever.
Even happier – all those dogs who were adopted over the last ten months. They went from hanging out in a cage in a shelter to nonstop companionship, treats and fun with their humans. They probably think that this is how their life will be forever: hanging out with us all day.
They have no clue that this is an anomaly and that some day we will all have a COVID-19 vaccine and go back to the office.
It’s not just about our at-home time either. Our puppies are also going places with us more often than they used to. If we were going to a restaurant or going to work, they would be forced to stay home. But now everything is “to-go” so they can come in the car as we pick up our take-out food or drive through Starbucks.
Bonus: many places will give your canine buddy a treat when you pick up food or drinks. My dog is particularly partial to the “puppacino” they give him at Starbucks.
When We Leave Our Dogs
Dogs are pack animals, as we all know. Having all the pack members home makes it easier to relax because your dog knows we are safe. They can follow us around all day, checking out what we are doing and keeping an eye on us.
But sometimes we have to actually leave the house, even now.
When we leave the house without them, dogs have no idea what’s going to happen and how long we will be gone. They have no way to know if you will eve return and if not, what they will do once the food runs out.
It can be super stressful for them. In some cases, dogs get so upset when we leave that they can develop separation anxiety, which leads to destructive behaviors like barking, chewing, and destruction of property.
Studies have shown that dogs can measure time by smell — afternoon smells different than morning, for example. This is why sometimes your dog seems to “know” that someone returns to the house at the same time every day.
Generally, the longer a dog is separated from their owner, the stronger their reaction to being reunited — although sometimes my dog acts like I have been gone for days when I have only been gone for fifteen minutes.
Benefits of Spending Time with Our Dogs
There are other benefits to all that togetherness with their owners. There is much more petting, more time for throwing toys or playing games, and most importantly, more opportunities for treats.
When we show affection to our dogs, through a pet or a snuggle, it releases oxytocin, the “love” hormone.
Both dog and owner feel a surge of happiness when they spend time together, similar to the way we do when we hold a newborn baby or hug someone we love. Even the hardest heart can be melted by petting a cute dog.
Snuggling with your dog is good for their mental health — and yours.
All this working at home has also created more opportunity for joint exercise. Many people have taken up running or long walks as a way to get out of the house, keep fit and move away from the Zoom calls.
A break between meetings can be a great time to take a little meander around the neighborhood, allowing your dog to sniff things, eat some grass and investigate what is happening outside. Since dogs use urine as a way to mark their territory and leave messages for other dogs, your walk time is as valuable for their communication and email is for ours.
In the wild, dogs run and walk all day, so this extra outside time is a gift for both of you. Since both humans and domesticated dogs are more sedentary now than we have been any time in our evolution, it’s great for their health — and yours — to get moving.
More frequent walks and runs helps both humans and dogs counteract any pandemic munching that has been happening. Sure, all those loaves of fresh sourdough bread and Pinterest cupcakes are yummy, but we have to do something to burn off the calories.
Sometimes the dogs can even join us in our video meetings, where at least one person will helpfully point out what a pretty boy they are. It’s awesome.
Dogs can tell by the tone of a person’s voice, and sometimes by the words used, that they are being praised. That extra attention and affection, even through the computer screen, is good for your dog’s self-esteem. We all like a little praise every now and then.
We will all go back to the office eventually and most of us can’t bring our canine friends with us.
Enjoy your time with your dog while you can. Your dog sure will.
#covid19 #pets #dogs #pendemic