How to Make Your Dog Happier!
Dogs are intelligent creatures, but sometimes their intelligence can leave their owner baffled for ways to entertain and amuse them. It can be hard to think of good ideas for new ways to show the dog a good time–let us do some of the thinking for you! Here are some greats ways to show your dog that you love it, one day at a time.
1. Give your dog the walk of its life!
Dogs are, in many ways, built by humans, having long adapted to the comfort of a constant food source, central heating, and a comfy bed. But that doesn’t mean that dogs have forgotten what it was like to roam around outdoors. Rather, dogs need the stimulation and excitement of a good romp in the woods! A great way to energize and engage your dog’s mental well-being is to go on long walks in a variety of settings. The sights and smells of trees, buildings, streets, and other dogs are sure to lift your dog’s spirits and fill it with youthful verve. Consider the walk a daily non-negotiable; after all, would you want to spend your day cooped up inside your home
2. Prevent Overeating
Ironically enough, both people and dogs share a similar problem that comes from our move out of the forests of antiquity: overeating! We both come from an environment, and so still share similar instincts, to eat everything we can, not knowing where the next meal comes from. Those sugars, fats, and carbohydrates we crave on a daily basis are our body’s way of telling us those are important for nutrition–but both you and your dog adapted to a world without highly-processed foods! As a result, many dogs and their owners are overweight due to the easy access of all kinds of delicious foods. It may seem cruel, but ensuring that your dog eats only just what it needs to maintain a healthy weight is a great way to ensure your dog’s happiness. And who doesn’t love seeing the dog sprint across the yard?
Along with overeating, nothing slows a dog down quite like a lack of fun, engaging play. Dogs love the stimulation of a good game of catch, a rowdy tug-of-war, or just good old-fashioned cuddles; and science has shown that interaction with your pet is great therapy for humans, too! If a particular type of play has become stale or boring for you, chances are your dog probably feels the same way. Try playing in new areas or trying out new toys. Each dog likes something different; some may hate one thing but love another. Experimentation can be fun for both you and your dog, and playtime is definitely one of the best ways to engage your dog both mind and body. Happy dogs need play, and nothing will make them happier than enjoying it with you.
4. Switch up their Toys
In much the same way as humans, dogs can get tired of the same old toys just like they can get tired of the same old scenery. Rather than keeping all the dog’s toys out at once, strewn across the living room floor, try to switch it up by hiding one toy or another for a few weeks. When you bring it back out again for playtime, the dog will be as happy as the first day you bought it! Try to be creative with toys too; just about anything can be a toy with enough creativity!
5. Training and Obedience
It may seem odd that training and would brighten a dog’s day. After all, people tend to dislike having to step in line with another authority. Dogs, however, are pack animals, and derive great pleasure and a sense of belonging from following the alpha dog–with some effort, you! Dog training is a long-term commitment, but it yields long-term results. Teaching your dog even the simplest of tricks gives them the satisfaction of being a part of the pack, and of pleasing you, the master. It gives you the happiness of watching happy dogs enjoy themselves. Give dog training a try for a novel way to bring happiness to your dog’s life.
6. Consistent Praise
Nothing confuses a dog more than unclear instructions or inconsistency. If they are doing something naughty, it is important to tell them immediately so that they learn to obey. But almost more important is the less commonly-taught reality that dogs need to hear praise from you. It doesn’t even have to be in exchange for them performing a trick or doing something you wanted. Dogs love to hear your words of encouragement and your kind voice. Studies have even shown that dogs are at least partially aware of what you are saying, regardless of tone–make sure they hear how much you love them in both what you say and how you say it!
Dogs may not always love baths, and you may not always love giving them one, but they are better for it. Not only will they smell better–which in turn makes you more likely to give them the love they crave–but it will also keep their skin clean and their coats free from bugs, mites, or other invaders that may cause itching and other irritation. Dogs don’t require daily baths, but they do require regular baths. To avoid a bath-time scene, try making bath-time fun: save some special toys just for bath-time, make sure to be generous in your praise. And always remember if you’re not enjoying yourself, your dog will most likely realize it. The more excitement you can put into it, the happier your dog will be.
These are just a handful of the many things you can do with your dog to make sure they have a long and happy life with you. It’s hard sometimes to try to guess at what a dog may be thinking, but a good rule of thumb is to treat them in many ways like you would want to be treated. In many ways dogs are similar to people, and we’ve spent many millennia learning to be best friends together. Dogs crave attention–just like their owners–and they also crave good food, enjoyable playtime, exciting experiences, and loving praise. Be sure to show your dog these things and there’s no doubt they’ll have the time of their lives!