Easy Ways To Keep Your Dog Happy
Every dog owner wants to do their best to return the unconditional love they know they receive from their canine companion. The loyalty, protective instincts and sheer joy a dog expresses when an owner returns after a day at work – or even a brief trip to the shops – always combine to produce an intensely heartwarming effect.
If you want to repay your dog by ensuring its life is filled with as much fun and happiness as possible, it’s a good idea to identify all the factors that are potentially making your dog unhappy and then take steps to remedy them.
Happy you, happy dog
Every dog owner knows that their pets regularly seem to be in tune with their emotional state. Any time you are feeling down and don’t feel like doing anything but slumping on the couch in front of the television, it will take only a few moments for your pet to come by and snuggle by your side to console you.
According to new research on the topic, one reason this happens is because dogs are highly skilled at reading facial cues in humans and are keen for their owners to always be as happy as possible. Most likely this reaction is part of a survival instinct – happy humans are more likely to provide a dog with a good level of care, so it’s in their best interests to ensure their owners spend more time being happy than anything else. It does, of course, work both ways. A happy dog is more likely to play with you, follow commands and provide you with the company and companionship you seek whenever you desire it.
Most parents try to avoid losing their temper or having fierce arguments in front of their children and you should treat your dog the same way. A dog’s special sensitivities combined with their ability to pick up on your moods mean they have just as much of an ability to get upset by the sound of shouting as a small child.
Protect them from scary sounds
One time of year that your dog may not be very happy at all is around the time of the Fourth of July celebrations. Many dogs go into an absolute panic at the sound of fireworks. Their eyes will open wide, they will begin panting and running back and forth in search of a safe space. The fact that the sound seems to be coming from all around means no safe space can be found and the cycle continues.
On the worst nights, when new firework displays seem to erupt for hours at a time in all directions, even the most happy-go-lucky dog can be transformed into an angst-ridden creature that is almost impossible to comfort.
Veterinarians can prescribe sedatives, and these can prove effective so long as they are given in advance of the event. This is easy enough when it comes to big events such as Independence Day but are less effective when it comes to dealing with the distress caused by events such as thunderstorms which are impossible to predict.
One alternative way of dealing with the problem is to begin a “happy routine”. The idea of this is both to distract your dog from the noise of the explosions and also to ensure the dog associates such noises with treats rather than fear.
Once the noises start, you run around the house, shouting and throwing goodies around, such as Betsy Farms treats for dogs. Eventually your dog will start to feel less anxious about the noises outside the house and instead focus its attention on where the next set of treats are going to appear. It takes time for such behavior to become established with your pet but the sooner you start, the more likely you are to be successful.
Ramp up the social life
Dogs are pack animals and they can become depressed if they are deprived of the opportunity to socialize during their lives. As well as getting plenty of attention from their owner, dogs should also have the opportunity to meet and spend time with other dogs while out walking or at the park.
While out walking, there will be plenty of times when dogs simply want to their own thing for a while, going off and exploring new smells or following interesting scents. Allowing your pet the freedom and the time to do this is important as otherwise, their life simply becomes nothing but a long list of commands. Letting them make their own choices every now and then and giving them sufficient time to explore independently can greatly boost their level of happiness.
Much of your dog’s happiness will depend on the time and care you put into training your pet when you first acquire them. Rather than punishing your dog for failing to behave properly, you need to spend the time helping your dog to better understand the kind of behavior you do find acceptable. If you run into problems, don’t hesitate to call in outside specialist help. The sooner you start to train your dog to respond to a series of commands, the easier and happier life will be for you both.
Buy cheap toys
Dogs need to be able to exercise their animal instincts every now and then and one of the main way they do this is by treating stuffed toys as if they were actual prey. Although it is very frustrating buying an item for your pet, only to see it destroyed days or even hours later, the ability to do this is a crucial part of maintaining your dog’s mental health.
There are plenty of toys on the market that are advertised as being virtually indestructible and while your dog may enjoy playing with such items, they will get far more joy out of something they can tear to pieces.
If you do decide to buy cheaper toys, make sure they are manufactured by a reputable company, so they are unlikely to contain small parts that could harm your dog. Never give your dog toys meant for children. If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying toys, then most dogs will be equally happy tearing a sheet or ball of paper to shreds.