We love our dogs! How do we give them back all the love they offer us every day? What to do to go beyond their normal needs of being fed, groomed, looked after? Do we really understand what makes them happy? Here some thoughts about it.
1- Take your dog for walks his way. Don’t try to combine your jogging or walking exercise with “his” walk, all the time.
Of course your dog benefits from accompanying your jogging, he needs the exercise too, but this type of walk is not the most fun for him. Dogs favourite walks are all about seeing the world with their noses. They need the time to sniff around, check smells out until their hearts are content! They can remember every smell they encounter forever and love to discover new ones. Their perfect walks would be stopping as often as they want to sniff around. Let them explore! The dog’s nose is the most important radar for the way he senses the world. Take the time and make it their walk!
2- Cook some home-made meals for him!
Pick his preferred protein (yeah, this is serious spoiling) and cook a big batch that can be added every day to his kibble. Imagine if you had to eat the same food every day? As an added benefit, the food will be super healthy and nutritious. Check out an easy recipe here.
3- Find balance between obedience and your need to control your dog.
This topic can be controversial and this is only one opinion. I see many people extremely bossy with their dogs, proud to show off how much their dogs obey and are under their control. Obedience is an important part of the dog/human relationship but it should not be only about their owners ego. Any dog will happily listen to your rules over time, they are very intelligent animals and can follow commands very easily. After they mature, the amount of language interactions you can have with your dog is huge. It will come naturally. There is no need for harsh commands that make the dog nervous and anxious to please you. Balance, as always, is the best solution for you and your dog to enjoy every moment you spend together.
4- Make your dog’s life interesting every day!
Dogs love rituals and routines and having them well established pleases them immensely. Set routines around their favorites spots to sleep, which you’re probably already doing! Add many other ones, tuck him in for an afternoon nap by the front door. Does he like to be on the sofa with you? A nice blanket that belongs to him will make it cozy and inviting. And remember, you don’t have to mess the whole house with doggy things. I talk about how to keep you home clean and styled having dogs, in this post.
5- Let your dog interact with other dogs!
Even if you take your dog for walks several times a day, nothing replaces the unique fun that he has interacting with other dogs. It is a play time, a pack bonding activity that relates to his most ancient instincts, which is being part of a pack of dogs. There are so many dog parks around, fenced and safe, where your dog will have a blast. Some people argue that exposing their dogs to other dogs might be a problem since we never know how healthy they are. However I find that 99% of dogs in these parks are very well looked after. Just talking to the owners you will confirm this. People who take the time to provide this fun for their dogs, are dog lovers that would never let their dogs go without the proper vaccinations.
6- Clearly understand your dog’s breed and its needs!
It is very fashionable now a days to “buy” the dog, pick your favourite breed, colour, size, etc. I am a big advocate for adopting dogs but I do also understand how much pleasure it is to own the breed of dog you most admire. We have one rescued, Turbo and one pure breed, Stella which we got because we learned to love the husky side of Turbo so much. However, when you do this, make sure you understand the breed and their specific needs. How much exercise they need every day and if you’re able to provide it, for example. Or if they need to be brushed or taken for grooming. There are so many details that we tend to forget when making the decision to bring them into our lives.
7-Trim his nails frequently!
Their teeth need to be clean and the nails have to be short! I can’t state these two requirements often enough. It is so simple but I see so many well treated dogs, whose owners neglect doing these 2 simple tasks. Dog’s nails were designed to protect their paws and would naturally be trimmed if the dogs were running lose in the wilderness. However we keep them inside and unless you walk your dogs a lot, the nails will need to be trimmed. Dogs are not comfortable walking and moving around when their nails are too long. If you had trained them since puppies, it is easy to do yourself. There are a lot of good quality clippers that require just a bit of practice, like this one. Unfortunately our huskies (which are famous for hating to have their paws touched) need to be taken once a month for the nail trim, but it is also an opportunity for having a fun outing to the pet store.
8- Keep his teeth clean, prevent future costs and pain and provide lots of fun!
It is so easy to keep their teeth cleaned! Again many people don’t want to bother giving them bones for several different reasons, but if you do so, not only are you pleasing your dog, but taking care of his teeth at the same time. There are lots of options, the most natural and organic are the best. We give them bone marrows and some other organic treats that are hard and work as a tooth brush. You solve a problem and your dog will thank you profusely!
9- Interact, interact, interact! Touch, play, kiss, hug, cuddle!
They love you! They love the sound of your voice, your smell, your body movements, all about you, unconditionally! They can tell when you’re stressed or happy. If you’re happy, they’re happy! It doesn’t get any better than this in life! Even our dear family members can’t give us that much love all the time!
10- Set up a nice “den” for your dog!
And then… that last little thing you can do for him: his nest or his den.
It is different from his napping spots. It is “his den”, that protected spot that only belongs to him, in his favourite corner, where he takes some of his toys and bones, the treasures he collects all over the house and where nobody disturbs him. A comfy bed or pillow or an old rug, but who am I kidding here? It might very well be your sofa or your favourite chair!
The joy of being greeted every day by your furry and friendly being fills your life with so much joy and love! It is priceless! Give him back all you got!
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