Keeping a dog content is pretty easy. Their naturally sunny personalities and ability to live in the moment are reasons why we love them so much! They give us joy and affection and do it freely, too. So why not give them a little bit more? Here are a few ways to enhance your furry pal's life and happiness.
Most dogs love a walk or a run, and both dogs and cats often love to play. Dedicate time every day to give them the exercise they crave and need for good health. Exercise doesn't all to have to be physical, either - mental stimulation can tire them out just as well (or better)! For example, nose work games have become quite popular since it uses a dog's natural scenting instinct and ability.
... or the trees, shrubs, clumps of grass, whatever's there! Our pets are so good at living in the moment. They know how to thoroughly enjoy life, even the smallest things like a good roll in the grass. There's no need to always be on the go... take time out and sit companionably with your pet, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, and one another's presence.
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace." (Milan Kundera)
Set aside a day to take your dog to that place you always said you wanted to take him. Life takes us in many directions. Before we know it, our pets are getting older or less mobile. Did you always want to take your dog for a day at the beach? Go. Enjoy it while you have the opportunity.
Simple stuff like taking your dog's collar off before bedtime (we do this with our dog, and he loves a good neck scratch and a good roll as soon as the collar comes off!)... or freeze thin slices of canned dog food for a cool and refreshing treat on hot summer days. My dog loves a 'slice' of frozen, canned tripe while lying in the cool, shady grass on a hot day. It's his version of bliss!
There are lots of wonderful foods available to our pets these days. Pets enjoy tasting a variety of foods just like people do ... so vary it up if you can! Some pets do have special needs or easily experience tummy upset, so you might want to consult with a veterinary nutritionist before making any changes.
This might not seem like a 'feel-good' thing, but it really is. A lack of training can lead to frustration on the human's part while the dog experiences stress and uncertainty. Show them what you want them to do, give them time to understand it, and you'll both be happier.
Many pets enjoy being stroked or massaged. It feels good to them, and also good to us to feel their fur under our hands and to see their pleasure. On the practical side, it also helps us to identify any lumps, cuts, or other skin or fur problems (like mats) that need to be addressed. Brush your pet regularly, too. Many enjoy the feeling and will fall asleep while it's being done.
Ultimately, our pets enjoy the time they spend with us. Quality one-on-one time together is even more treasured and plays a huge role in a dog's happiness. So when you have a spare moment or two, do something extra special for your four-legged friend - he'll love it just as much as you do.