If your dog could dream up the perfect life, you might think it involves a lifetime supply of treats and endless trips to the dog park. While these things may be on your dog’s wish list, most canines crave simple things that make them feel loved, happy, and stable. Below are five things your dog really wants:
1. Guidance: No dog wants to be yelled at for using the rug as a potty spot or chewing up your favorite pair of shoes, but canines don’t instinctively know not to do these things. Setting consistent boundaries early in life and committing to training will not only boost your dog’s confidence and happiness, but it will also strengthen the bond you two have with each other.
2. Stimulation: Dogs may not be able to ask for it with words, but they need both physical and mental activity to ward off boredom and undesirable behaviors. Regular walks, hikes, runs, or games of fetch are all great options to get your canine companion moving. Training sessions, agility activities, and puzzle toys are good ways to keep your dog’s mind sharp.
3. Consistency: Your dog doesn’t want to tag along on your emotional rollercoaster. It can be confusing if you come home one day in a great mood and super grumpy the next. While it’s natural for your days to differ and your moods to change, try to keep your reaction to your dog the same. Dogs need a leader who’s cool, calm, and collected. Consistency applies to a lot of other areas of dog ownership too, including feeding schedules and house rules. When you keep things consistent, you’re giving your dog the best chance to thrive.
4. Socialization: When dogs are exposed to a variety of people, other canines, and situations, they’re less likely to feel fearful or aggressive. If possible, start this exposure at a young age and keep it consistent. Keep in mind that even with the best attempts at socialization, every dog is different and may not have the same level of comfort around other dogs and people. Tailor the socialization to your pup’s individual needs. For canines that don’t do well at the dog park, opt for walks or agility classes instead.
5. Attention to health: Your dog may not know the meaning of a healthy body weight or arthritic joints, but he does know what it’s like to feel good and energetic. Keep up with your canine companion’s health by committing to regular vet checkups, opting for a healthy dog food, keeping up with flea control, and not neglecting things like dental care. A healthy dog is a happy dog.