About authors

Image of partner

Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

What exactly are the needs of dogs? Just like every living creature, the dog has certain needs that must be fulfilled in order to live a happy life.

What does your dog need?

Basic needs

  • Breathe & fresh air
  • Species-appropriate nutrition
  • Fresh water
  • Sleep & rest
  • Safe/secure accommodation
  • Possibility to dispose of urine and faeces
  • Movement
  • Mental & physical workload
  • Loving body care and veterinary care

Security needs

  • No pain or fear
  • Protection against danger
  • Undisturbed retreat
  • Reliable caregiver
  • Routine
  • Clear rules/limits
  • Trust

Social needs

  • Connection to the family
  • Contact to conspecifics
  • Body contact
  • Activities with people & conspecifics
  • Play
  • Love & Security
  • Consideration & understanding

Emotional needs

  • Appreciation
  • Praise & Recognition
  • Feelings of success
  • Fairness & mindfulness
  • Joyful togetherness
  • Be respected
  • Support & Help

Cognitive needs

  • Positive training
  • Living out individuality
  • Gather own experience
  • Be allowed to be a dog
  • Get to know new things
  • Learning to solve problems
Banner App

What you should pay attention with the needs of dogs

All living beings have needs. Depending on the species, the needs are the same, but how important a need is for the individual and which strategies he uses to satisfy his needs is, very individual. For example, social needs may be more important to a dog than its autonomy. Several needs may be present at the same time.  Age also plays a role, because baby dogs have different needs than adult animals or senior dogs. Keep an eye on the individual needs of dogs.

Some needs cannot be perfectly satisfied 24/7, but you should make sure that they are satisfied as well as possible. Especially the basic needs must ALWAYS be fulfilled. Because if the needs are temporarily not satisfied, negative feelings such as frustration, tension, concentration problems and stress will gradually arise. If this state continues, a number of negative psychological and physical effects can arise.

An action has the goal of satisfying a need. For example, if your dog seeks your closeness, he may want to fulfil his need for contact, love, belonging or protection. If your dog shows behaviour that is undesirable for you, ask yourself whether his needs have been fulfilled. Maybe he is too cold, hungry, tired or overstrained. So you see that it is also important to ask yourself why my dog does this and how could I support him? Think about how you feel when your needs are not satisfied?


The basic needs of your dog must always be satisfied so that he is balanced and can live a happy life. Think about your dog’s needs and how you can help him to satisfy them.