How Much Time Is Suggested to Spend With a Dog?

by Naomi Millburn
Dogs thrive on human attention.

Dogs thrive on human attention.

Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Owning a dog requires a lot more than merely thinking the furry creature is cute, even more than making sure he eats healthy. It requires making sure you have enough time and energy to devote to his care and well-being, from exercise needs to personal attention. Keeping a dog happy and healthy is a day-to-day responsibility and privilege.

Exercise Needs

Dogs vary in how much time they need from their owners. Numerous factors determine this, from exercise requirements to age range. If your dog's breed is one that requires hours of daily exercise, he might need more time from you. Border collies and Australian shepherds are two examples of dog breeds with particularly high daily physical activity needs. Especially active dog breeds can require two hours of intense exercise every day. Herding dogs and hunting dogs in general also have big exercise needs. Other breeds, however, require significantly less. Bulldogs and chow chows are two breeds with comparatively minimal fitness requirements. Dogs of these breeds generally do well with brief daily walks. Note that a dog's size doesn't necessarily determine his exercise requirements. Some tiny terriers are extremely lively, while some massive pooches are markedly more leisurely, fitnesswise.

Breed Background

Dogs of certain breeds and types differ in their human companionship needs, too. German shepherds, for one, have a history of working extensively with people. They therefore enjoy spending significant amounts of time with them. Terriers, on the other hand, are usually a bit more self-sufficient. Terriers can manage being by themselves better than some other breeds because of their particular working history, working solo. When you know how much time you can to set aside for a pet, you'll be better able to determine which breeds you should consider.

Stage of Life

Outside of breed and exercise considerations, your dog's stage of life also frequently determines how much time you need to spend with him. If your dog is still a puppy, he'll need more of your time because of training and socialization needs. Puppies are bouncing balls of vitality and need a lot of assistance in everything from learning basic commands to housetraining. Elderly dogs are a whole other story. If your dog is in his golden years, he also might need more of your time due to health problems, frequent veterinary checkups and cognitive difficulties.

Planning Your Schedule

When you're planning your daily schedule, make sure to fit time in for all of your pet's various needs. Pencil in ample time for outdoor walks and playing as well as cuddling sessions and grooming. If you own a puppy or an otherwise young pooch, you'll probably need to dedicate between four and six hours of your day to him, according to author Margaret H. Bonham. If your dog is on the mature side, he might need between four and six hours of your time daily. If you have any specific concerns regarding how much time you need to give to your individual pet, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Bored, Stressed Out Canines

When dogs don't get enough attention or exercise from their owners, they display their frustration, stress and boredom through acting out and behaving destructively. This is why it's so vital for owners to make sure they have enough time to dedicate to their dogs prior to bringing them into their homes. Anxious and bored dogs frequently resort to undesirable behaviors such as persistent noisy barking, pacing, whimpering, digging and chewing. When dogs get ample acknowledgement and physical exercise, they don't have the need to come up with their own "entertainment" -- think chewing your most comfortable low-heel work pumps.

Division of Responsibilities

Dogs sometimes require more attention from their owners than usual. If a dog isn't feeling well and has several appointments with the veterinarian over the course of a week, his owner will need to accommodate that, whether that calls for making adjustments with work, social life or anything else. No matter the circumstances, however, it's always vital to make sure your dog gets enough daily care and attention. Dividing up duties among the people in the household often helps a lot, especially in times of additional responsibilities.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images