A happy dog is a friendly and more lovable member of your family. Your dog brings you joy. Do you ever look over at her while she is sleeping and wonder if you make her as happy as she makes you? Is she as glad to be yours as you are to be hers? How do you know if your dog is content? All social species have the same basic needs, just different ways those needs are fulfilled.
1. First and foremost treat your dog with a lot of love and care. Treat him like a friend / family member. Dogs are not toys that you just play with them for a second and throw them away the next.
2. Don’t keep him locked up in the house all day long. Don’t put on choke chains n tie him up in a corner. Dogs love to run around and play. It’s the way they are.
3. Take some time out of your schedule and play with him. Maybe a game of catch. This will help in keeping your dog active and energetic.
4. Take him out frequently for walks in the park. Let him sniff around and play with the other dogs.
5. Go swimming. Many breeds of dogs love to swim. Its also healthy for them. If you have a clean and safe river or lake near by, that’s perfect. Your dog and even you if you want can go swimming. But make sure he or she likes the water.
6. Simply give him a nice scratch behind the ears or some loving pats on the head maybe a relaxing belly rub. Dogs, especially old dogs, love to just sit around and have their favorite person give them a rub or pat.
7. Bring your dog with you for a car ride. They love these, especially with open windows.
8. Give them treats. Anything which they like.
9. Find out what your dog likes to play. E.g. try tug-o-war, fetch, chase, etc. and play it often. Always give your dog attention whenever possible. Scratch and rub their bellies when they want it.
10. Above all just treat your dog with whole loads of love and affection. They are man’s best friend after all!
Clean water – The most basic and most vital need for dogs is fresh clean water. Give your dog virtually unlimited access to water. The only exception is limiting a few hours before bedtime when house training. Keep water bowls clean and free of debris. Make sure outside water does not freeze in winter or overheat in summer. Change water in outdoor containers often. Stagnant water can lead to disease. It doesn’t have to be Evian, but it should be fresh! If your dog has a habit of knocking over her water bowl, it’s not because she doesn’t want water. It’s because dogs live in the right now, and right now it’s fun. It doesn’t occur to her that later, she won’t have any water to drink. Weighted water bowls will solve this problem.
Good Nutrition – Ask a dozen people what dog food is the best, you will get a dozen answers. The elusive Absolute Best Brand has not yet revealed itself. However, there are better and worse choices. Feeding a quality dog food means your dog will be healthier from the inside out – from a stronger heart and bones to a shinier coat with less shedding and itching. The little extra money spent on a better food is more than made up for in fewer Vet visits. Nutritionally balanced dogs get sick much less often, fewer ear infections, fewer outbreaks of worms, fewer UT Is, and even fewer injuries. There is even evidence that better food makes for a better behaved dog, as well! A quality dog food will have meat as at least the first 2 ingredients and little or no corn as a filler. Dogs are primarily meat eaters. If your dog has a dull coat and flaky skin, it could be her food!
Exercise – In addition to proper nutrition, exercise is vital for good health. Not only will it increase your dog’s longevity, it will also decrease her unwanted behaviors. A dog’s energy has to go somewhere. If she doesn’t get enough exercise, she may find undesirable ways to expend that extra energy or even develop neuroses such as obsessive spinning. Just as you should see your doctor before starting an exercise program, so should your dog see hers! Some breeds need more exercise than others, and some cannot tolerate intense activity. Be sure your dog’s exercise program is right for her breed. more…
Good Hygiene – It’s true, dogs love to roll around in the stinkiest thing they can find. They don’t seem to mind being dirty or smelly. However, for a dog’s overall happiness, cleanliness is next to dog liness! Dogs may not care how they smell, but people sure do. A smelly dog does not get petted by people and generally isn’t allowed in the house, and a dog shunned to the back yard with little or no human contact is not a happy dog. Filthiness can also lead to health problems. For example, dirty ears can lead to ear mites which are itchy and can cause ear infections. Being too dirty can also be painful, especially for a long-haired dog. Mats in a dog’s fur pull on the skin and are extremely uncomfortable. Nails that grow too long can cause a dog to walk awkwardly and lead to problems in their joints and muscles. Keeping coats brushed, ears cleaned, and nails trimmed is essential for a happy dog. Bathing too often can lead to dry itchy skin. Dogs need a bath only when they start to smell bad. If your dog is on a quality food, this won’t be very often.
Chew Toys – Dogs have a physiological need to chew. This is especially true for teething puppies. Providing them with safe chew toys will help them satisfy this urge without having to gnaw on your coffee table. Thick rubber toys like Kongs are a good option because they will not break apart and become a choking or obstruction hazard.
Elimination – Dogs need reliable and sufficient opportunity to eliminate away from their sleeping area. Normal healthy dogs will not eliminate where they eat and sleep. Dogs who do use the bathroom in their dens do so because they have learned that they will not be given sufficient opportunity to eliminate elsewhere. For optimal happiness, make sure your dog doesn’t have to hold it too long.
Shelter– In the wild, dogs are able to seek out shelter when they need it to get out of the rain, to shield themselves from the cold, or to find relief from the heat. In a domestic environment, we keep them confined to a limited area. They don’t have the option to go out and look for adequate shelter. Therefore, it is up to us to provide it. The ideal place for your dog when it’s raining or cold is in the home with you. Most dogs are happiest living inside with you. It’s also the easiest way to provide appropriate shelter. However, if your dog is one of the few who prefer living outdoors, or bringing her inside is not an option, you can make sure she is well-sheltered outdoors. Follow these tips to properly prepare her dog house for winter weather.
Security- Huck on the patioHappy dogs feel safe in their environment from threats either real or perceived. Dogs who live confined outdoors but without a physical fence are not secure. Invisible fences and chains may keep the dog in the yard, but they do not keep other animals out. A dog living this way is a sitting duck. She is vulnerable to attacks from coyotes, other dogs, and even mean people, and she has no way to escape. The dog who lives this way is not a happy dog.
Social Needs- Dogs are social animals who thrive on companionship with others. They are unique in the animal world because they enjoy companionship with people as much as they do with other dogs. A dog who lives in a backyard with only minimal human contact is a lonely dog, like a hermit living on an isolated mountain. The happy dog gets lots of ear scritches and belly rubs. She gets to associate with lots of different people and dogs because she has been well-socialized and trained in basic obedience and manners. She is a dog who can go anywhere, and people are happy to see her.
Esteem Needs- Do dogs have a sense of self-esteem? If you doubt it, just watch a dog who has accomplished a complicated task. See how she holds her head high and struts! Dogs need to have confidence in themselves and their ability to master tasks. Training a dog builds her self-esteem. It makes them feel good to master the perfect Sit and earn your appreciation! Learning tricks is fun for dogs. There are also all sorts of canine sports available that dogs enjoy. Agility, flyball, ultimate frisbee, and lure coursing are just some of the examples. A dog with a hobby is a fulfilled dog.
Cognitive Needs- Dogs are more than just instincts. They also have the ability to think and problem solve. They need to experience more than just the same old scenery of their own home. Mental stimulation leads to a happy dog. Just walking a different path and letting her smell new smells and see new sights provides mental stimulation. At home, puzzle toys like the Buster Cube let her put her brain to use. You can play games with her like hiding and she has to find you, or hiding a treat that she has to find. Learning new tricks also works her brain. Put her to work. Make her fetch the paper (make sure it’s safe first) or bring you a drink from the fridge. Yes, working makes for a happy dog!
The Secret to Happiness
The meaning of life is to live it. The secret to a happy dog is to help her live a fulfilled life. That means she actively participates in it. She plays, goes places, and does things. Basically, the secret to a happy dog is not much different at all from the secret to a happy person.
- Whenever you call your dog, make sure it is always in a nice and friendly tone.
- Give your dog some toys, bones, or kong toys to keep them busy while you’re at work or at school.
- Avoid shouting at your dogs, they may not understand your words but they read emotions.
- Train your pet all the basics at least… A trained pet is always more enjoyable.
- Talk to your dog and smile at him/her as you would a human and/or in a cooing voice. Even if your dog doesn’t understand your words it helps you and your dog bond.
- If you are always at work, school, college, or any activity where you are not home often and you have a dog, you should consider getting another dog to keep him/her happy and content, or getting a dog-sitter.
- Treat your dog with respect, he or she is a family member too that deserves good treatment, love and exercise.
- Always cuddle with your dog and lay down and just pet them.
- Always be friendly to dogs so they don’t feel upset, they can sense it.
- Teach your dog new tricks. Put a dog treat on the ground and have your dog sit in front of it but don’t let him eat it just yet. Say colors such as red, blue, yellow, basically any color but green. If at any time while your saying the colors, your dog goes for the treat, gently but firmly hold him back and have him sit again. Finally,when your dog knows not to eat the food when you say those words, say green and signal to your dog that he can now eat it. This is just a simple trick to have your dog go on green, like a car! Try the trick again, just to make sure your dog has it down and then your done! You can now feel proud of both yourself and your dog!
- If your dog likes to play fetch, after you throw the ball or toy, hide somewhere so that your dog will need to find you. This will help his tracking skills.
- Take your dog out to socialize with other dogs.
- Get two dogs; they keep each other company and entertain each other.