This is part of a series of articles on the physical, psychological and social needs of dogs. As body and mind are one, they will of course influence each other mutually and thus overlap the categories.

Some dogs who are stressed, ill or injured may have additional needs, permanently or temporarily. However, I aim to talk primarily here about basic needs which apply generally to all dogs.

I regard the needs of dogs as their basic rights.


Every dog needs somewhere in the house to retreat to when he or she is tired or a situation becomes too much to cope with. This is his or hers alone and no-one else is allowed there! No children, no visitors! No-one should ever lie down in the dog's bed.

It is ideal if the dogs can choose their own place to withdraw to. You will be able to see whether your dog prefers an armchair in the study, a place under the stairs or a bed in a secluded place near a radiator, for example.

Undisturbed, deep sleep.
A well-balanced, healthy dog needs 17 hours of deep, undisturbed sleep a day. A puppy, young dog, ill or stressed dogs may need up to 20 hours a day.

For deep, undisturbed sleep, dogs need to feel secure and at peace in their environment.

A tired dog can not think or learn. A long-term tired dog, trying to survive on adrenalin, may develop behaviour issues. At the extreme, this could even become a dangerous dog.

Conversely, enough rest can make a great positive difference in helping to resolve behaviour issues.

It can take months or even years for long-term stressed dogs to 'come down' enough to sleep deeply.

There is a lot of truth in the saying that we should let sleeping dogs lie; it is their right to sleep peacefully knowing they will not be woken or disturbed.

I would be very interested to read about any benefits you may have experienced by enabling your dog to rest and sleep more! How long does your dog sleep per day?