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Single Dog Syndrome

Did you know that dogs from “single pet” households are more difficult to train and have more behavior problems than dogs who have another canine companion?

Dog trainers Jack and Wendy Volhard identified several behaviors that single dogs seem more prone to exhibit than multi-dog homes:

  • Running away from home
  • Demonstrate food aggression if their owners approach their food bowls
  • Don’t eat as well, or become picky eaters
  • Show aggression about their toys
  • Are more unruly than multi-dog households (making them difficult to train)

If your family is away from home all day, your dog is left alone with no company and no interaction with people and other pets. If you were in this position, can you catch a glimpse of how you might feel? Lonely dogs are no different from lonely people; they tend to develop unsocialized behavior since there is no one, human or canine, to teach them otherwise.

Domesticated dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are pack animals and highly social. They need companionship, playtime, comfort, and a sense of belonging. There are several solutions to Single-Dog Syndrome:

  • Don’t bring a dog into your home if you know you cannot provide companionship for her.
  • Take your dog for frequent walks to a dog park where she can meet and play with other dogs.
  • Enroll your dog in “day care” while your family is at work or school.
  • Consider bringing another dog into your home; they will be company for each other.

Any of these options will halt the development of behavioral problems that not only cause chaos in your home, but will also ease the loneliness of your dog.

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