Did you know that dogs have emotions and feelings just like people, and feel happy when they get the love and attention that they deserve? Any dog lover will tell you that happier pets are healthier pets, and we all want a healthy wagging dog. But how does one go about keeping their pet happy and healthy?
My dog, now 11 years old is truly a happy go lucky beagle. It marvels me each day as I see her jump off my bed every morning ready for breakfast. It starts with a long stretch and a moan, then a little tap dance and finishes off with a wag of a tail ready for breakfast.
Considering I can’t even think in the morning, watching this ritual each day always puts a smile on my face, regardless of the day. It gives me a such as good feeling to know I have a dog that is happy.
Secrets to a Happier Pet
A socialized dog will grow up to be friendly and happy with other animals and people. Which is your first step to a happier pet. It’s important that you take your dog out regularly and expose it to different situations. This way you and your dog can basically go anywhere. A dog can be taught to be social any time, but it’s best to start early.
I started taking Maggie everywhere with me when I first got her at 10 weeks. I would take her to friends houses, dog parks and even to my local. She got to experience different situations and meet lots of other dogs and people.
2. Don’t Spoil the Dog
Dogs want you to be the leader because they have an innate need for social structure and security. Dog’s want you to lead, but if you don’t take that role, then they are going to put their paw forward and take charge. And if you let that happen, well you’re going to get a dog who’s a little out of control.
Dogs are just like kids, and the earlier you set the rules and teach them discipline, the less their chances of becoming a spoilt dog. A happier pet is a dog who understands the rules.
A spoiled dog can cause havoc, such as being aggressive, begging at the table, or running off. Which in turn leaves you frustrated and at times maybe even angry. All this stress confuses a dog and leaves them irritable and confused.
Don’t let the dog train you and thus become a spoiled dog. With Maggie I always kept these rules in place:
I always let Maggie know I am the trainer and not the trainee.
I always make sure that Maggie says please in order to get that new toy or treat.
I control the number of treats and toys until she showed me polite behavior.
I never rewarded Maggie when she showed undesirable behaviors.
In turn, when I do give Maggie a treat, she feels happy and loves her reward.
3. Nurture & Praise
Just like children, dogs need to be nurtured too. I always show Maggie just how much I cherish her. I do this by watching her body language and I communicate back in a loving way. I find this the most rewarding part of my relationship with my dog. It is also important for her welfare and is key to prevent and resolve all manners of problem behaviors. When I respond to Maggie appropriately, this allows her space and keeps her free from stress. Or in simple terms, Maggie knows I understand her, respect her as a dog and of course that I love her too.
Dogs also thrive on praise and compliments, just like you. I always make sure to let Maggie know each and every time she’s doing something that makes me smile. It keeps her motivated and happy.
4. Healthy Eats
To keep your dog healthy it’s important that proper nutrition is available for your pooch. Diet affects everything about your dog. A healthy diet will keep your dog’s skin and coat, weight, energy level and gastrointestinal function in tip-top shape. Make sure you choose a high-quality dog food or learn about homemade diets.
I always make sure Maggie gets the best food possible, and I have been home cooking for her since she was a pup.
A healthy diet is a very important step to a happier pet!
A bored dog is an unhappy dog, simple as that. Rember all dogs were bred for a purpose, and even mixed breeds are still subjected to their genetics. Dogs that lack mental and physical stimulation are often badly behaved.
Considering Maggie is a beagle, I knew that she needed long walks and that she was bred for sniffing out rabbits. To keep her stimulated I made sure we took walks in different locations, and to stimulate her mind I played many games with her that would make her think. Our favorite game was “sniff out the treat”.
All dogs need some degree of grooming. It can be as simple as a good scrub in the tub, nail trims and brushing.
Maggie is a short haired beagle who sheds all year round. I always make sure that she gets a good de-shed bath and brush out and that her dew claws are always nicely trimmed. I also find that when I brush her it’s a great time to check to see if anything is different on her body. It also amazes me how energized she gets from her bath and brush out.