1. Play Time Means Everything!
Yes, we have busy lives and the last thing you think about after a long day at work is to stop and play with your pup.A quick little pat on the head is fine right ? Mmmmmm wrong! Dogs need stimulation and engagement, and play time is so important to keeping your dog happy, whether its just chase, hide and seek or playing tug-of-war with his favourite toy. These all make your dog happy.
Just 10 minutes a day can have a massive impact on your pet.
2. Teach New Tricks
Another very good way to stimulate that little doggy brain is learning simple tricks, we are not talking about teaching your dog how to hand shake, clap ten times, jump 10 feet and then curtsy at the end of it! We are talking about the most basic tricks that any dog can learn like sit, down, stay, or bark. Yes, teaching tricks takes patience and we are not expecting old dogs to learn new tricks but when there is food involved or their favourite treat you will be surprised what you can do.
3. Make Homemade Dog/ Cat Treats
We love this idea since you can be so creative, its easy and doesn't cost anything, if anything you save money compared to buying all those pet treats! We love Pinterest for all their amazing homemade pet treat recipes.
Look for healthy alternatives that have ingredients you already have at home. Or, simple ideas such as frozen stock cubes, or frozen ice cubes with bits of fruit/veggies are a healthy and creative summer substitute.
I'm sure a change up in your everyday diet would make you happy too right ?
4. Mix Up Your Usual Walking Track
A change of scenery can do wonders for anyone including our dogs. Do you ever get that feeling when you finish your daily commute to work and it was so unmemorable you can't even remember driving to work in the first place ? Same goes for dogs. Having just a few different walking tracks and rotating them around can make a big difference with happiness levels in our pets.
These animals have such a strong sense of smell they NEED new sights, new trees, new buildings and new surroundings just like you.
5. Invest In A Food Dispenser Toy
These things need no introduction, they keep all pets happy and excited. They are inexpensive and easy to find. Perfect for indoor days or to keep occupied.
6. Take Your Dog On A Hike
Like we mentioned above, new surroundings and smells are an amazing experience for our dogs and a hike is the perfect way to let them explore, be free and enjoy the outdoors. This is the perfect chance to spend some quality time together, get active and get back to nature.
If you have an overly active pooch this is a excellent way to use all that energy so they can relax later.
7. Buy New Toys But Remember Their Faves
I'm sure you can agree when i say receiving a new toy or present to play with makes you happy ? Can you imagine the affect it has on your pet ?
In saying that, its very important to remember their old favorites and not to throw these away! I did the most awful thing which i will always regret, Carlos had an old favorite stuffed toy, he would sleep with it, eat it, bite it and drag it around the house to the point it was so old and smelly and falling apart i had to get rid of it!
One day i found the replica and replaced it when he was sleeping, in the morning i woke up at 6am to Carlos searching the house looking for his Pugsly, he was beside himself! Sniffing every corner, walking up and down the hall, barking, and then for several days straight he was a sad mess. I couldn't go get Pugsly back because the rubbish truck had already been and gone. Lesson learnt, let them have their favorites. If it makes them happy leave it.
8. Play Fetch
The good ol favorite cannot be replaced, not only does the game go on and on without complaint but it's a great way to get their blood flow going and happiness metre at full measure. They just love this game!
9. Cuddles! Cuddles! Cuddles!
Love, affection and quality time together are the most important ways to create that bond and make your pet happy. Every cat and dog loves a bit of affection but don't force it if they don't want it. The best feeling in the world at the end of the day is to snuggle down with your fur babe and get cuddles, it makes your pet happy and you as well.
10. Stuffed Kongs Are Brilliant
Need i say more? If you already have one of these clever little devices you will know what i mean when i say they are fantastic and our pets would agree too They come in several different colours, shapes and sizes perfect for young or old. You can pick one up for just a few dollars from any pet accessories store or pet shop.
11. DIY Toys
A very simple and cost effective way to bring pure enjoyment to your pet.
What i like to do is go to any department store or shop with a children/babies section and look at safe, chew proof toys designed for small children, these toys are choke proof and non toxic. If they are safe for babies they will be safe for your fur babe. ( I make sure they dont have little parts that break off easily)
I also look for toys that i can stuff little treats inside or smear coconut oil or peanut butter inside for added enjoyment. Medium - large hollow building blocks with food stuffed inside are amazing ways to keep dogs happy and they are pretty durable!
Sometimes the most simple things can be effective.
12. Most Importantly - Dogs Need Doggy Dates
These animals were made to have social outings, interactions and engagement with other dogs. They are "pack" animals. Cats on the other hand are very happy to be left alone. It is so important for their behaviour, development and their happiness to be around other dogs, just sniffing, barking, playing and deciding who is Alpha.
Some of the most aggressive dogs i've met were labelled as antisocial, aggressive and "doesn't like other dogs" which i can guarantee they were not born this way, its a learned behaviour and usually from isolation and no social interaction with other dogs. Of course your dog will be protective of you and your family if it never sees other dogs and thinks every single one of them is out to eat your family! The more you isolate your dog the more aggressive they become towards other animals.
I love watching dogs chase each other, run and tackle, jump and sniff and generally enjoy the company of being in a pack. Some dogs have a preference to who they like and dislike so allow them to do this, usually older dogs don't have the patience for younger pups but see how you go. You will see fast who they like and dislike.
Humans unfortunately cant give the same benefits and stimulation to dogs that other dogs can offer. No matter how much you try to tell yourself this they do need to be socialised. Your dog will thank you for it.