Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Understanding Canine Needs

Understanding Canine Needs

I think we all know that puppy needs are different then adult dog needs, smaller breed needs are different then larger dog needs, and different breeds sometimes have different needs. I can roll off a list of dog needs a mile long but they all come down to these 3 categories; physical needs, emotional needs, and mental needs.

Physical needs include things such as food, water, shelter/safe space to rest, place to go potty, exercise needs, vet care, etc.

Emotional needs include things such as feeling safe, calm, and happy, social experiences, freedom from shame, freedom from threats, etc.

Mental needs include things such as participating in training sessions, playing games with friends, doing enrichment puzzles, sniffing the environment, etc.

Understanding your dog's needs is the first step!

Getting Help!

People seek training help to change at least one behavior, such as pulling on the leash. There really is no need to contact a trainer if your dog is perfect. Owning a dog almost always has challenges of some sorts. Even dog trainers have other dog trainers that they go to for help.

Gone are the days, at least for most of us, where we simply punish the behaviors we don't like. Thankfully dog owners don't come to Yooper Paws because they want to learn how to punish their dog more effectively! If that's their goal, owners quickly learn they are in the wrong place because that's not what I teach. I help dog owners look at the big picture of the behavior that is bothering them.

A dog who barks is trying to accomplish something. They may bark because they see something scary/exciting, or to tell a perceived intruder to get back or give them space, or alert their owners to a potential threat. They may bark simply because it makes them feel good. I'm going to help you determine what the dog is trying to accomplish with that barking behavior.

Most of the time that leads us back to a need that isn't currently being met. Perhaps the dog feels unsafe in the environment, an emotional need. Perhaps the dog is bored from being home all day, needs physical activity or mental stimulation. There are basically endless possibilities as to what your dog needs in any given situation.

When I say that there is a need that is unmet, that is not intended to blame the owner for not taking proper care of their dog! On the contrary, if an owner walks into Yooper Paws seeking my help, I know you are doing your best to provide everything your dog needs. I'm searching through your dog's needs based on breed, age, physical health, daily routine, other family members that may help provide needs, and other information so that I can find the best way to help you. When we find needs that are unmet and brainstorm solutions, we can often change challenging behavior.

Canine Needs Are Different For Every Dog!

Azul and Roz are very different dogs! Both are very confident, resilient and easy to please, but they both have very different needs. They both need food, but Azul is more likely to eat a bigger breakfast while Roz prefers a bigger supper. They both need exercise, but Roz prefers a much faster pace while Azul likes to take it slow. They both need to go potty, but Azul will go anywhere and Roz is more selective. You see, some basic needs are the same for every dog, but still need some individualization.

Azul can be found spending his morning watching the world go by; at the office on his tie out, at home in the backyard, or laying in bed looking out the window. Before or after lunch Azul wants an adventure. He prefers a sniff-a-bout where he can smell p-mail, but he also enjoys a service dog adventure too. He takes a nice afternoon nap, and enjoys some type of play before dinner. His evening is spent exploring or relaxing in the backyard. Azul is pretty laid back and easy going with lots of relaxation time in different environments with just a bit of fun and adventure thrown into his day.

Azul likes to nap and watch the world go by from his favorite places that are in sight of me but not really close to me.
Roz is a bit different! She likes to wake up and hit the ground running! She has a very active morning. That activity can change as long as she can move; zooming in the backyard, playing with a friend, training with me, going on a walk...physical and mental needs. After lunch she can take a good long nap, perhaps with a few interruptions but then more napping.Roz also has a huge social need; playing with friends, touching her people as much as possible, making new friends, etc. Evening is when her needs kick in, especially if her needs for movement were not met earlier in the day. She is going to need 10-15 min of backyard zoomies or wrestling with a friend to end her evening and she is going to need some help settling down to fully relax for the evening.

Roz likes to be touching me as much as possible!

If you're reading this, I know you love your dog and want to help them enjoy life! But sometimes our schedules, other commitments, the day to day stresses in life, and so much more get in the way. Let Yooper Paws help you to understand your dog's needs and create a plan to ensure you can meet their physical, mental, and emotional needs without stressing out your day even more. This may include adding some enrichment puzzles, challenges, training, play, and/or exploration time. But I can guarantee it will be fun for both you and your dog! 

I do offer a free 30 minute session to see what services I offer that can help you and your dog love life together! Email me at for more information.


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