There’s an interesting article/discussion on the New York Times website today about the increasing amounts of medication given to pets in order to control their behavior.
Some of the comments from readers are interesting as well.
Here at Run and Play, we are pretty well invested in the notion that a frequent mix of physical and social activity is what is going to make your dog emotionally happy. We don’t think that hours and hours of physical and emotional isolation every day is the way to go. Sure, you spend time with your dog on the weekend, but that’s only two days out of seven.
It’s sort of like you getting four hours of sleep every night during the week, and then consoling yourself by telling yourself, “I’ll just make it up on the weekend”. We all know that really doesn’t work too well, because, during the week, when you’re getting those four hours of sleep, you still feel like someone drained all of the blood out of your body and replaced it with old dishwater. You can’t make it up later, and you can’t “store” sleep to use on those days when you didn’t get enough the night before.
Extrapolate that to your dog’s situation during the week.
Yes, there is a cost to having someone like us take your dog out every day. No doubt about that, and for many people, that cost is a meaningful percentage of of their weekly earnings. We would never be glib about that, we know you have to earn that money, so we’re not dismissive of the cost of making your dog a little happier and healthier. But as the piece in the New York times mentions, sometimes there’s a cost on the other end, too – your dog’s behavior and socialization.
Dogs are pack animals. You are either part of their pack, or are the pack, period. Dogs don’t just want social interaction, they crave and need it, just like almost every human. Why is solitary confinement in prison considered to be so awful? You know why, and it’s the same for dogs.