Looking for some easy ways to help improve your dog’s life and keep them happy? The good news is there’s some pretty easy ways to enrich our dogs lives, and I’ve put together a list of my favorites. From providing your dog with daily exercise to being consistent with rules, here’s 5 simple ways to improve your dogs life.
Provide Your Dog With Daily Exercise
Regular exercise is important to your dog’s overall well-being, both mentally & physically. Overweight dogs are at an increased risk for developing health issues such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. You can cut down that risk by keeping your dog physically active.
A lack of exercise can cause also cause boredom and frustration. Dog’s that don’t get daily exercise are much more likely to develop destructive behaviors such as excessive chewing or barking. By providing regular exercise you’re giving them a routine and a way to burn off extra energy — one that won’t include chewing up your favorite shoes.
Making sure your dog gets enough physical exercise each day will help keep them fit and out of trouble. Some of the easiest ways to exercise your dog include:
- Playing frisbee
- The daily dog walk (or jog)
- Using a flirt pole
- Play fetch with your dog
- Playing a game of tug of war
Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated
Have you ever heard the saying “a tired dog is a good dog?” Well it’s true, and you don’t just have to rely on physical exercise. Giving your dog plenty of mental exercise every day can be just as tiring as physical. For my dog a 5 minute game of “find the treats” is just as tiring as a 30 minute walk (measured by how long she naps for afterward).
Adding in some interactive play and games every day will keep your dog mentally stimulated. Here’s a few of my favorite ways to give my dog more mental stimulation:
- Let your dog sniff on walks aka “sniff breaks”
- Teach your dog some new tricks
- Use food dispensing toys & stuffed Kongs
- Play some nose work games with your dog
- Make your own DIY obstacle course
Keep in mind that every dog requires different amount of physical & mental exercise. Most dogs still need plenty of physical exercise every day, but you can supplement the “down time” by adding in some mentally stimulating activities.
Make Training More Fun For Your Dog
Fun isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind when you think of dog training. In fact the first words that come to my mind would be frustration and confusion, but that’s besides the point. The point is there are some relatively easy ways to make training more fun for your dog. And when training sessions are fun for your dog it’s easier to keep them motivated to learn new things.
One way to make training more fun and interesting for your dog is by switching up the reward. Experiment with using different rewards such as different games, toys and treats. Some dogs are highly motivated by food, while others prefer play. Find out which rewards your dog prefers and save those for them you’re working on particularly difficult behaviors.
Another way to make training more fun is by keeping your sessions short & sweet. Dog’s don’t have unlimited attention spans, so working for too long on anything can lead to frustration for both you and your dog. You can avoid that frustration by keeping your training sessions short (I tend to prefer 5 minute sessions). And remember to use plenty of praise when your dog does what you ask — the timing of your praise will courage that behavior in the future.
Be Consistent & Fair With Rules
One of the easiest ways to confuse and frustrate your dog is by being inconsistent with rules. Did you toss your dog a bite of food during dinner three weeks ago, yet wonder why he’s begging today? By tossing that food a few weeks ago you encouraged more begging, even if it was unintentional on your part.
Our dog’s learn from us all the time, and we have a tendency to send out a lot of mixed messages. When you set rules and boundaries for your dog remember to be consistent. Don’t let them get away with something one day only to punish them for it the next.
Having clear rules and boundaries will ensure your dog knows exactly what’s expected of them at any given time, and it will help avoid the frustration of inconsistent punishment. If they’re not allowed to do something (such as jumping on the couch) make sure everyone in the family sticks to that rule.
Give Your Dog a Routine
One of the best ways to keep your dog happy is by providing them with a daily routine. They’ll feel more secure knowing when meal time is, when they get to go outside, when they get to play, and when their daily walk will be.
Now when I say give your dog a routine I don’t mean you have to dedicate 6 hours every day to playtime. I’m talking about short little activities scattered throughout the day. A 5 minute game of tug after dinner, a stuffed Kong in the morning, a walk in the evening. Those are the kinds of activities that will make a fun daily routine for your dog.
Come up with a routine for your dog that includes some fun things for them to do every day. Little activities throughout the day (as minor as they may seem) will enrich your dog’s life, and they’ll help cut down on problem behaviors that can arise out of boredom.