Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Best Of’ column goes to the dogs

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

How can I make sure I’m spending enough time with my dog and not my smartphone? What are some ways to resist using my smartphone?

– Smartphone Addict

Dear Addict: First, you and your folks should make sure your buddy gets a good medical checkup right away. Dogs tend to act mopey when they’re not feeling well. You are perceptive to see that your inattention has a real impact on your dog.

It is possible that he is sad and depressed because he misses you.

This is similar to the way some kids report feeling neglected by their parents when their parents are glued to their own smartphones, instead of talking and listening with full attention to them.

I recently read an interesting interview with psychologist Sherry Turkle, author of “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.”

Turkle pointed out that an important part of adolescence is the ability to be on your own for the first time, amusing yourself and exercising some independence.


Your phone is your constant companion now; it fills a space that should be filled with your own imagination and with interaction with your best dog buddy, as well as human friends and family.

When you come home from school, put your phone in a drawer for two hours. Close the drawer and leave it there (not in your pocket). You and your dog will both feel much better if you play and hang out together without the distraction. – November 2012


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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