Keeping your dog happy seems like a simple task. Give them love, food, water, walks, and treats, and you’ll have their heart for eternity. That may be true, but there are additional things you can do to make sure your pets stay safe and happy.
Talk to your dog when you take them for walks
There’s nothing wrong with carrying on a full conversation with your dog or cat when you take them for a walk. You do it inside the house already, and they might wonder why you never talk to them when you go outside.
Talking to your pets might make people look at you like you’re a bit strange, but it can be fun. You can make up funny scenarios about what they’re thinking and why they’re sniffing certain plants. Some dogs really enjoy the sound of their owner’s voice and you can see them perk up when they’re talked to.
If it’s been a few decades since you’ve made up stories about what other people are talking about, now’s the time to get back to it with your pet. Your neighbors might think you’re strange, but they’ll laugh it off.
Get out in the backyard and dig with your dogs
Some dogs, like Jack Russell terriers and huskies, love to dig. Dogs dig for many reasons, and experts agree one of those reasons is to look for burrowing animals like moles, mice, and rats. This behavior is natural for your dogs, but destructive to your property. It’s not uncommon for digging dogs to leave giant potholes all over the yard in mere minutes.
Most vets recommend training your dog out of digging, but if you don’t care about your yard and don’t want to spoil their fun, there’s another way.
How long has it been since you’ve dug into the earth with your hands? When you come home to find holes in the backyard, get down on the ground and dig that dirt right back into the hole. Have fun with it, play with the dirt, and feel connected to the earth. You’re not actually digging holes, but your dog doesn’t have to know.
The downside to allowing your dog to be a digging dog is the liability you have if someone steps in a hole on your property. If you allow guests to enter your backyard, be sure to warn them about the potential potholes and tell them to watch their step. Potholes can cause significant injuries, and you can be sued if you fail to warn your guests about potential hazards.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a custom sign made to warn people about the potholes upon entering your yard, much like a road sign, but with some humor.
Learn how to be a pack leader
Your dog might be the pack leader with the other dogs, but you need to be your dog’s leader. Just like kids, dogs need boundaries and rules. You have to train your dog to enforce boundaries and rules, but that’s not hard to do.
Training your dog to obey basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “drop it” will protect them in situations where you need to get immediate verbal control over your dog. Once your dog is trained to obey basic commands, they’ll be better able to learn their boundaries. Pack leaders are the ones that set boundaries for the pack.
What does it take to be a recognized pack leader? You don’t need to gnaw on raw meat like many people do to gain acceptance into a pack of wild animals. Many dog breeds just need you to give them some work to do. It doesn’t have to be hard work. For example, giving a golden retriever a pair of old shoes to carry around is usually enough to satisfy their need to work, and will reinforce your status as pack leader. They’ll never know you picked up the sneakers at Goodwill and you’ll never wear them.
Also, pack leaders eat first, so make sure you feed yourself before you feed your pup. Dogs instinctually know the pack leader eats first, so make sure they see you eating before you fill up their dish.
Don’t forget the food
It’s not hard to keep a dog happy when you know how to accommodate their doggy needs. For some dogs, all they need is a good rib eye steak once in a while. When they’ve been faithful to you, they’ve earned it!