How Much Attention do Dogs Need?

My Jack Russell mix wants attention every minute. He will not play with toys alone. Average is 16-18 hours a day. How much time should...


My Jack Russell mix wants attention every minute. He will not play with toys alone. Average is 16-18 hours a day. How much time should we actually spend playing and training him? How can we get him to not need our attention every minute?

Thank you.
Many Blessings,


Most dogs love attention. For example, I’m pretty convinced that my pal Buster would be content to receive attention from every person on earth simultaneously for 24 hours out of every day.

The realities of life prevent most dogs from receiving such extreme amounts of attention. And most of them do fine in spite of it. Buster uses most of his time alone to engage another of his favorite activities: napping.

Some dogs suffer from a condition known as separation anxiety. These individuals may become extremely agitated when they are left alone or do not receive the sort of attention that they desire. Fortunately nothing in your question indicates that your dog is afflicted with separation anxiety.

I recommend that you start with some enrichment activities for your dog. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise every day. Consider feeding him in a Kong toy or foraging ball. Spend part of each day training him–this sort of mental stimulation is vital for well being.

Finally, remember that, if you are like most people, you cannot devote your entire life to your dog. Do not give him attention when he demands it. Instead, give it to him when you want to and are able. There is nothing wrong with ignoring his attention-seeking behavior when you have other things to get done.

Of course, I am not recommending that you neglect your pet. But I have a hunch that will never happen. Spend as much time as you can with him.

Remember that many dogs are left unattended for eight or 10 hours every day while their owners work. The average dog gets by with an hour or two of play time each day. I’d recommend that you, and everyone, aim for much better than average. But 18 hours each day definitely is excessive.

Photo: Foraging balls. The best idea since sliced bread.

4 thoughts on “How Much Attention do Dogs Need?”

  1. Dog loves attention & care just like human beings. There are hundreds of different dog breeds out there all with different personalities, quirks, and needs. It happens due to our busy schedule that we are not able to give that much time or attention to our pets. Even the most devoted pet parents can get bogged down with running the kids to after-school activities, stressing out about work and spending way too much time tapping on smartphones. And when the stresses of life take over, sometimes the family dog is the one who suffers the most.

    Thanks for sharing great stuff!!!

  2. Sometimes paying attention to your dog isn’t really the question, rather it is your lifestyle that is the question. Your too stressed too busy or whatever and to have a dog is when you need to take time out for yourself and do things away from your life and go do something with your companion sharing the time together away from everything else.

  3. Pingback: Dogs Or Cats, Which Is Better? –

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.

Let Dogster answer all of your most baffling canine questions!

Starting at just

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.


Follow Us

Shopping Cart