Are you and your dog binge-watching buddies?
By Hilarie Erb, AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer
How quickly the time flies while you’re watching your favorite show, marathon style! What can be more relaxing on a dreary rainy afternoon? You may have meant to watch just one or two episodes, but before you could say “let’s go for a walk,” you found that you had been on the couch for four hours straight with no intermission. Occasionally, if the weather is bad, this might be harmless and even therapeutic, but binging on a regular basis isn’t healthy for anyone. Many of us are already struggling to get enough exercise and have mostly sedentary jobs.
Most dogs love spending time snuggled up with their people, but even the cuddliest canine has a limit to how long he will loaf on your lap while you watch television. An active dog won’t be happy watching you stare at the TV unless you’ve taken care of her need for exercise and mental stimulation.
If you must binge a favorite show, allow yourself to do it only after you’ve spent quality time playing with, training, and exercising your dog – and yourself! Take 30-minute breaks between episodes for walks and/or indoor training sessions.
TV binging also leads to mindless snacking. The combination of sitting still for hours and eating unhealthy snacks is not a recipe for good health, for you or your dog. Be conscious of what you are eating and don’t share unhealthy treats with your pup.
Not so long ago, shows were only available to watch an hour at a time, at most, once a week. But now we need to use self-control in order to not become part of the sofa. Maybe it would be better to save some episodes for other days. They aren’t going anywhere, and chances are good that in the future you won’t wish you’d spent more time watching TV.
For some great ideas on things you’ll be proud to say you did with your dog, read How to Keep your Dog Entertained Indoors.