How To Make Your Dog Happy

how to make your dog happy

Your dog is your best friend, and as pet owners, we want nothing more than the health and happiness of our four-legged companions. Here are some of the best ways we as humans can make our dogs even a fraction as happy as they make us.

How Can I Make My Dog Happier?

The thrill of a new toy or going on a special outing is always exciting to your four-legged friend, but what can you do to make your dog happier every day?

Spend Time Together

Spending time with your dog is sure to boost their mood no matter what you do together. If you could ask them what activity they wanted to do, it’s a safe bet their answer would be, “Anything with you!” This can be especially true for dogs with separation anxiety who are only truly at ease when they can be near their humans.

Studies have proven that spending time with a pet increases the production of oxytocin, a love and happiness hormone, in both people and pups. Run errands together, sit around the fire in the backyard, or snuggle up for a cuddle and a movie. Whatever activity you and your dog choose to do, doing it together will surely increase happiness for both of you.

Regular Exercise

benefits of walking your dog

A healthy dog is a happy dog, and when it comes to exercise the two go hand in hand.

Dogs need regular exercise to stay happy as much as they need it for their physical health. While different breeds have different needs when it comes to exercise, daily walks, short hikes, extended games of fetch, or long swims are all ways you can exercise your dog daily.

Mental Stimulation

Part of supporting your dog’s mental health is making sure they’re stimulated. Your dog needs opportunities to use their brain! Training your dog to do new tricks is also a fantastic way to give your dog some mental stimulation, and brushing up on dog training skills helps keep your furry friend sharp.

Most dogs like having a job to do, whether that job is fetching, finding a toy, or sniffing out a scent. Enrichment activities you can do with your dog anytime might be hide and seek, solving dog treat puzzles and find-it style games.

Try This DIY Towel Treat Game!

Want a fun way to challenge your dog? All you need to give your dog a little mental stimulation at treat time is delicious dog treats and an old towel.

Place a few treats in the middle of the towel, then fold it over the long way so that you can tie a knot in it with the treats in the middle. Be sure not to tie it too tight, but enough so that your dog has to work a little for their treats.

Unstructured Playtime

While dogs need some structured activity, unstructured activity is important too. Dogs need time to be curious, pursue their own activities, and entertain themselves. Giving them time to run around the backyard freely and spend time gnawing at their favorite chew toys adds freedom and happiness to your dog’s life.

Playdates with other dogs are another great way to let your dog have some freedom with play. The opportunity to interact with other dogs off-leash and without a structured activity is good for your dog’s social skills, and play time at the dog park with another furry friend is always a good time.

Positive Reinforcement

As dog owners, we want to encourage good dog behavior, and using positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to do it. This training method focuses on rewarding desired behaviors — not punishing for bad behaviors.

Giving your dog praise like saying “good girl” or “good boy” is one of the most simple forms of positive reinforcement you can give your dog at any time. You can also give them belly rubs, head scratches, treats, or even some fun new dog toys as a reward.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Happy?

dog enrichment ideas

Your dog’s body language is a great indicator of how they’re feeling overall. Certain behaviors will make it clear when your pooch is feeling extra happy. Pet parents can look for signs of a happy pup and know without a doubt their dog loves them.

Signs Your Dog Is Feeling Happy:

  • Tail wagging — There’s no mistaking the happiness of a great big tail wag! Wagging their tail is almost a guarantee a dog is in a good mood.
  • Healthy appetite — Dogs who feel safe and happy tend to have a healthy appetite, are eager for meals and treats, and eat a well-rounded doggy diet.
  • Playfulness — Happy dogs are playful dogs, and a desire to play indicates your dog is feeling pretty good! Eagerness to engage in play is a healthy sign of a happy pup.
  • Plenty of sleep — Happy, healthy dogs get plenty of sleep, sometimes multiple hours a day! Getting plenty of sleep is a sign that your dog isn’t too anxious to rest and that they’re getting enough activity to tire them out.

5 Summer Activities That Make Dogs Happy

  1. Nature walks — longer days, warmer temperatures, and blooming plants and trees are all calling you to get outside with your four-legged friend. Summer nature walks are a perfect leisurely activity you can enjoy with your dog anytime.
  2. Swimming — give your pup a chance to get wet, splash around, and do the doggy paddle! Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise for dogs that also keeps them cool on hot summer days.
  3. Hiking — lace up your boots, strap on your dog’s hiking pack, and get ready to hit the trails! Summer hikes with your pup make for excellent physical activity and a great form of exercise for you both. Take on the challenge of a local summit and enjoy the views with your furry friend.
  4. Dog parks — dog parks are the perfect place for unstructured playtime and socialization with other dogs. They’re also a good place to let your dog run and play off-leash. They’re not for everyone, though. Always pay attention to your dog and others.
  5. Camping — what says summer like camping trips? Pack up the pup along with the tent and the cooler, and bring your dog on an outdoor adventure you’re both bound to enjoy. Relax around the campfire and watch for shooting stars with your trusty pup by your side.

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