Dogs make us very happy: ask any dog owner how much happier they’ve been since they bought their furry friend and they’ll tell you that they turned their life upside down in the good sense.
Dogs are companions who are never mad at us, they are constantly amusing, and they are great company and stress relief after a tough day.
But every now and then we have to ask ourselves whether they are happy as well. After all, dogs have been taken out of their natural habitats in order to keep us company and to live the way we live. They’ll spend a lot of their time cooped up and they may well only rarely come into contact with other members of their species. Are they really happy?
Obvious the answer depends on the dog, but there are certainly a number of different things you can do to keep your pet happier. Read on for some of the best methods.
What’s important to bear in mind is that dogs are very intelligent and so are quite easily bored. This is one of the major things that leads to them misbehaving and being a handful – they just want attention and something to do.
If you want to keep your dog entertained then you first and foremost need to spend time with them. That means playing with them when they bring you a toy to tug, and it means giving them ways to entertain themselves so that they aren’t left with no option but to remove the cover from your sofa.
Likewise, dogs can easily become restless because they have a lot of energy to burn. These are little bundles of pure muscle and enthusiasm and until they reach old age they aren’t going to be content just plodding around the house.
If you have a big garden this can help, but most important of all is to make sure your dog gets plenty of walks. This way they will not only get the exercise they need, but they’ll also get to meet other dogs (which is also important) and to smell all the smells that can be found outside (crucial).
Dogs – like humans actually – like consistency and they like routine. The more you stick to this routine the happier your dog will be, so make sure that you walk them at the same time most days and that you feed them around a similar time.
Also important is to be consistent with your discipline. If your rules change then your dog won’t understand why they’re being punished. While it’s fine to be affectionate and liberal with your dog, you should also make sure that you’re in charge and that your dog knows precisely what they can and can’t do. Dogs are pack animals and in the wild hierarchy would have been an important part of their social structure, so they thrive under these kinds of conditions.
Of course, your dog also needs the right diet to be happy, and you need to make sure you are keeping an eye on their general health. See a vet when necessary and don’t scrimp on quality dog food.