Month: June 2014

Do Dogs Miss Us When We Go Away?

If you can’t tell by the title of this post, I just returned from vacation (visited Thailand, and yes, it was the vacation of a lifetime.  Adventurous!  Slept in a hut in the jungle — okay, it was a resort — off the River Kwai, swam with elephants — yes, I did!, and saw more temples than I thought could exist in one ten-square-mile area).  Izzy spent almost two weeks with my next door neighbor and my friend around the corner.  When I got home, he stared at me for a moment, then jumped into puppy frenzy to welcome me home.

What I noticed about being gone:

  1. I missed him more than he missed me.  My friend Deb said that he didn’t want to be alone in the house, but once he was with her and her husband, Izzy made himself perfectly at home, climbed onto their bed, basically moved in.
  2. Leaving him home is less traumatic than taking him in the car to the boarding kennel.  As I have said before, he’s a bit panicked whenever he thinks he’s going into the car, so I thought that being in his own home would be better.  It definitely was.
  3. He “forgot” some of what we were used to doing.  I always say “wait” before we cross the street so he’ll know not to just dash.  When I first came home and started walking him again, he had to be reminded of that command.
  4. He needs to be with other canines on a regular basis, but he truly needs people more.  He can spend five minutes, an hour, an overnight with other dogs, but eventually he becomes bored with them and will ultimately go to the human in the room to get some cuddle time.

Just out of curiosity, I did a bit of research to see whether my own suppositions were correct, and here’s what Psychology Today said about dogs missing humans.  One test put dogs into an MRI and tested their brain function when they were given the scent of their human vs. one of a fellow canine.  Though tests are not conclusive, they have stated that dogs definitely miss humans more than other dogs.  The other aspect the tests looked at was whether dogs could tell time or days.  They can tell the difference between 30 minutes and 4 hours, but it’s not clear whether they can tell how many days someone has been gone.  Here’s the link to the whole article, if you’re interested:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/plus2sd/201309/do-dogs-miss-us-when-we-re-gone

My conclusion is that Izzy did miss me, though he had no clue that I was gone for two weeks, and had I left him with my neighbors longer, he probably would have been fine.

I, on the other hand, would have been heartbroken.

Does he look sad to you?

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