Your canine’s happiness should always be a priority, so how can you make your dog happy? It’s obvious that dogs love to play and cuddle, but how much attention does your dog really need and are you doing it right? Every dog’s happiness is different, so pay close attention to your dog’s specific behaviors to fully understand their likes and dislikes. But for now, here are ten canine happiness tips to help you get started.
Tips for How to Make Your Dog Happy
Every new dog parent needs some guidelines to help them get started. These are some good tricks to focus on when you first bring a dog home, but as you get to know your dog better, you can adjust these tips to better fit your dog’s specific needs.
#1 – Focus on Mental Stimulation
Most dog parents know the importance of physical exercise, but many forget about mental exercise. No matter what breed your dog is, they can certainly benefit from mental stimulation. It helps their intelligence grow, their boredom fade, and their bond with you become stronger. For some dogs, learning new and more advanced tricks is enough to keep their mind busy. Others prefer using puzzle toys, where they need to figure out how to get a toy or treat out of a larger toy.
#2 – Don’t Forget Daily Exercise
Of course, physical exercise is just as important as mental stimulation, and it’s another great way to fight boredom. Yet, it’s common for dog parents to have an inconsistent schedule when it comes to their dog’s exercise. For most dogs, a walk here and there just won’t suffice. So, if you have a hard time setting aside time for your dog’s routine, set a schedule. Take them for walks, runs, or whatever else they need at the same time each day. Also, feel free to mix it up to keep your dog entertained. Try walking at different parks so your dog can take in all kinds of new smells. Walks are not just for bathroom breaks, but they’re also a great way for your dog to explore and get physical activity.
#3 – Rotate Their Toys
Even if your dog has an absolute favorite toy, they might get bored of it occasionally. So, it can’t hurt to give them some variety at times. Make sure they have plenty of different toys to play with, and when they get bored of the ones they have, introduce them to a new one. Playing with your dog can also help them regain their love for toys. A good game of tug-of-war or fetch can never go wrong. Also, if your dog loves to tear toys apart, don’t stop them. It might be a pain to clean up, but it’s an exciting experience for them. For many dogs, toys are the key to a happy life.
#4 – Encourage Proper Socialization
Well-socialized pups are often the happiest too. When you first bring your dog home, make sure you gradually introduce them to new humans and dogs. This can help even the most skeptical dogs learn to get along with others more. Some dogs will be hesitant around strange people and animals at first, and some might never warm up to them. But with enough patience and kindness, you can at least help your dog improve. Dogs who are socialized frequently will find joy in meeting others, and they’ll love trips to the dog park.
#5 – Find the Right Food
Most dogs will gobble up anything you serve them, but the happiest dogs are the ones who eat food that’s both healthy and tasty. Now, every human seems to have a different idea about which dog food is best, but it really comes down to the ingredients in that food. A high-quality dog food should be packed with real animal protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and nutrients. Kibble might be the most convenient and most affordable option, but it’s very processed. Many dog parents are choosing wet food, raw food, or fresh food as healthier alternatives. That’s because these types of dog food have more of what your dog really needs and less fillers. Plus, they’re often tastier, which is sure to make your dog happy!
#6 – Always Provide Fresh Water
Don’t forget to refill your dog’s water bowl at least every morning. However, it’s recommended that you dump out the old water and refill with fresh water in between meals as well. Bits of your dog’s food might get stuck to their face and get into the water when they drink. Also, drinking dirty water too often could cause them to ingest unhealthy bacteria, leading to more severe health conditions in the future.
#7 – Maintain Proper Grooming
Your dog probably doesn’t like taking a bath or getting their nails trimmed, but it’s better than the alternative. Keep up with your dog’s grooming needs because if you don’t, your dog could become uncomfortable or sick. So, if they need their hair trimmed, schedule grooming appointments to keep their skin and coat healthy. Some dogs dread the groomer while others see it as a nice spa day, but either way, your dog needs it. Your dog also needs baths, nail clippings, ear cleanings, and brushing to keep them as healthy and comfortable as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable doing all that on your own, your groomer can handle it as well.
#8 – Give Them Some Freedom
If you really want to figure out how to make your dog happy, you might want to give them a little freedom. Most dogs can be clingy, but space is necessary even for them. Leaving your dog alone on a regular basis can help them become more independent and hopefully help with their separation anxiety. Some dogs also need small hints of freedom, such as a chance to run around in the yard or the opportunity to play in the house with their collar off. Collars can be uncomfortable for dogs after long periods of time, and some canines are bothered by the jingling sound. So, taking off your dog’s collar at night can give them just a little more sense of freedom.
#9 – If They’re Ill, Visit the Vet
Dog parents will often just wait out an illness if their dog is under the weather. In some cases, this might be okay, but your dog would appreciate it if you got them professional health. While dogs have a history of fearing the vet, they’ll be happier in the long run if the vet can cure their illnesses. The longer you go without taking your dog to the vet, the more they might have to suffer. Instead of shrugging off your dog’s symptoms, why not be safe instead of sorry?
#10 – Keep on Petting Them!
Finally, the most important step for learning how to make your dog happy is petting. Dogs love to be pet, and even if you have an anxious pup, petting can help form a bond between the two of you. When your dog wants attention, don’t ignore them. Instead, give them all the love you can. Just be sure you don’t overwhelm your dog too much. If they show any signs of distress, such as licking their lips, growling, or a whale eye, give them some space for a while.
Keep Your Dog as Happy as Possible
If you’re a new dog parent, all the above tips can help you make your pup the happiest dog in the world. Never stop giving them love, and stick by them through every up and down in life. Dogs are a human’s best friend, so it’s our job to give them the best life possible.