4 Ways to Make Your Dogs Happy
Important allowances for pet dogs include their own personal space comprising areas where they can rest undisturbed, toys that fulfill their hunting instincts through what we view as play, and sufficient food and water to satisfy their body needs.
As most people who keep dogs as pets want their animals to be close to them for the affection and company they provide, it stands to reason that the majority are kept in the home. To make your home as appealing as possible to your pet, meaning that the relationship between you both will be as successful and problem-free as possible, you must provide him with the facilities most important to him.
Another consideration is how you relate to your dog. Whatever dog you choose, he will sense your emotions, so a stressed owner is likely to end up with a stressed pet. Dogs respond best to calm, consistent handling. Shouting at or hitting him will confuse and frighten him resulting in behavior problems in the future.
A good owner is patient and controlled enough not to become angry at a dog if he does something you perceive as wrong. If he does something inappropriate as far as you are concerned, then you have not trained him or catered for his needs adequately. Look at what may have caused the problem, and then rectify it. Is he receiving enough attention, exercise and so on? Find the root cause of the problem and you are halfway to finding the solution.
BE SAFE, NOT SORRY
Not taking out appropriate insurance when you get a dog could prove false economy. It could mean being faced with a massive veterinary bill if your dog needs extensive treatment, while a lawsuit against you for personal or property damage caused by your dog could leave you facing financial ruin. Shop around for the best insurance deal and ask your local vet for any recommendations; then remember to read the small print on policy proposals.
If you work all day, you should consider getting a dog that will not mind spending large periods of time on his own. (This is likely to be an adult, since it is not fair to leave puppies on their own for any length of time). Alternatively, you could arrange to have someone come and see to the dog at least once during your absence and let him out to relieve himself.
If you get a puppy, the first couple of months are going to be particularly time-consuming- you will need to spend time on house training and basic obedience training. Later, you will need to allow at least two hours every day for care and exercise. Are you able to devote this essential time to exercise, train and play with a dog? If not, perhaps you should rethink your reasons for getting one.
Establishing certain times when you can devote attention to your dog will soon become a regular routine he looks forward to, and make his attention-seeking a thing of the past. To make this quality time interesting and more fulfilling for both of you, invest in a selection of toys that your pet finds entertaining, and choose toys according to his perceived value of them; ‘low-value’ toys can be given for everyday use, while ‘high-value’ toys are extremely useful when training.
A suitably-sized ball for your dog to chase and retrieve and an activity toy (such as a puzzle feeder, or stuffed Kong – see the panel above for how to do this) to keep him occupied will do fine to start with. Homemade toys can also include cardboard boxes filled with scrunched-up newspaper in which toys or food treats are hidden, while games you can play with your dog include hiding toys or treats around the house for him to find.
Should you wish to purchase a selection of low-value and high-value toys, there is a vast range specially designed for dogs available in pet stores to suit all budgets and types of dog. Bear in mind that strong-jawed dogs, such as Bull Terriers and Schnauzers, soon destroy toys, so choose those that are durable (unless you have an unlimited budget). Do not use brittle sticks as they can damage the mouth.