Today’s guest writer is Maggie Marton, writer and dog wrangler at Oh My Dog! She is writing about seven ways to make your dog happier.
Of course we want our dogs to be happy. We love them like crazy, so their happiness is important. But wouldn’t it be awesome if you could up-level your dog’s “happy”?
Here are 7 ways to make your dog happier (all of which you can do today):
- Get his weight under control. It sounds counterintuitive. Who really thinks diet and exercise are happy? Well, the truth is, an overweight pup is an unhappy pup. Chat with your vet, cut back on treats, add an extra lap around the block–take steps to get your dog’s weight under control, and he’ll be much happier for it.
- Play mind games. A bored dog is an unhappy dog. And, often, a bored dog comes up with creative solutions to her boredom. Think: Chewing up the sofa. Keep your dog’s mind engaged with puzzles, DOGTV, food toys, and so on. A mentally-stimulated dog is a happy dog.
- Enrich his environment. Rather than a massive basket of toys out at all times, give your dog a few at a time. Stash the rest in the closet, and rotate them periodically. Move his bed near a window to change up his sights. Or, plug in a pheromone diffuser to stimulate his senses.
- Snuggle–in the way your dog finds most comforting. No, not all dogs like hugs. Not all dogs like belly rubs. You know your dog best, so pick her favorite way to snuggle and carve out a few minutes each day. It’ll benefit you both: Studies show snuggle time gives people and pets a healthy dose of oxytocin–the happy hormone.
- Run, jump, and play. Get active with your dog. Whatever your dog loves, do that. Some dogs can’t resist a long run, while others want nothing more than to paddle around a pond, and still others can’t wait to chase a ball. Whatever game your dog likes to play, play it together for some serious happy-making.
- Schedule a checkup. OK, your dog might not love the vet. But, as the pet parent, you know it takes good health to truly experience happiness. Make sure you get that annual visit scheduled (or bi-annual for seniors). If it’s been awhile since your last vet visit, ask the vet to run a blood panel to establish a baseline to support your good habits moving forward. Your vet can share tips on how to best feed and exercise your dog (see point 1!), as well as important tests or procedures that might be affecting your dog’s wellness.
- Pay attention. This last one might just be the most important in terms of your dog’s overall happiness, but it’s probably the hardest one to accomplish, too. Do you use your daily dog walk to listen to the latest Audible release? Do you call your mom from the dog park to catch up? Do you mindlessly scratch your dog’s ears as you watch TV every night? Or toss him one more treat because you feel bad but you really want to catch up on emails/scroll Facebook/watch Instagram stories after dinner? It’s OK. We all do it. We’re busy. But, if you do one thing each day to make your dog happier, this is it: Pay attention. Even if you only have 10 minutes to focus, be all in. Make eye contact. Observe your dog’s body language. See what your pup enjoys, and do more of that. Being fully present with your dog, even if it’s only a few minutes each day, builds your bond, creates trust, and deepens your relationship.
Bottom line: Be like your dog. Stay in the moment. You two will deepen your bond as you take these steps to make your pup happier.
What do you do to holistically enrich your dog’s environment and keep him happy? Have you tried DOGTV? Sign up for a free 14-day trial of DOGTV to help enrich your dog’s environment to alleviate his stress and separation anxiety and help him relax!