Dogs generally have a shorter lifespan than us. But if you take into account dog years, not human years, they live quite long.
For example, one dog year equals seven to nine human years, so a 10-year old pup is actually an elderly dog with 70 to 90 years.
That aside, we all want to make the life of our puppy as cheerful, happy, and as easy as possible. Today, we will talk about all the ways you can improve your dog’s life.
Provide daily exercise
Regular exercise is one of the most important aspects of a long and prosperous life. Even lazy dogs and couch potatoes need a few minutes of exercise per day.
Same as in humans, obesity and overweight can cause health issues. Therefore, it is important to provide exercise so that your dog is in good shape physically.
Not only you need your dog in shape, but you also need him happy. Lack of exercise can result in boredom, frustration, and in some cases, destructive behavior. You want to avoid excessive chewing or barking? Get some exercise for your dog.
And truth be told, there are so many ways to exercise your dog. You can try any of the fetch games like Frisbee, sticks, and balls.
Or you can try some tug of war game at home. If you have a lake or pool nearby, get your dog some swimming time. Last, but not least, even a simple daily walk is enough.
Provide mental stimulation
Dogs need exercise for both their body and mind. With a daily walk and exercise, you work their body. However, you also have to keep your dog mentally stimulated.
Getting your dog tired is a combination of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Just trying tricks and listening to commands is enough for some dogs.
If you want to go deeper, some fun mental stimulation games are:
- Find the treats
- Teaching new tricks
- Nose work games
- DIY obstacle course
- Kong toys
- Food dispenser toys
Make training fun
Stop and think for a minute, how was your high school? Elementary school? Was it fun to learn and study? In some cases, probably not.
Well, the same applies to your dog as well. Fun is not the first word that comes to mind when you think of studying and training.
But there are easy ways to make training more fun. For starters, you can switch the reward. Experiment with different treats and different games.
Dogs are usually motivated by food, and they would eat almost anything you throw at them. But try to vary their treats. It will make them more motivated to train and study.
You should also try to keep the training sessions short and sweet. Dogs have short attention spans, and working for a longer period will actually be counterproductive. More than a five-minute training session can lead to frustration and anxiety.
Try visual signals
When it comes to training, some dogs respond better to visual signals than to verbal signals. You can use hand signals along with words. It is like a sign language for dogs. After a while, your dog will figure out the signal and be able to understand you better.
Provide lots of toys and chews
Toys and chews are designed to prevent canine boredom. They also provide mental exercise. Chewing is a natural activity for your puppy. And they love the more is better approach. It can get expensive to provide new chewing toys and objects at all times.
So make sure you find chews that are “more indestructible and durable” than others. If there are such. Generally speaking, hard rubber toys are best for chewing, as they can survive for a longer period.
Just make sure to monitor the chewing. You do not want your dog swallowing any of the pieces.
Be consistent with your rules
There are certain rules your dog has to follow. While we give our dogs freedom, there are some things that are just a no-no. The hardest part here is to be consistent and fair. While the fair part is easy to accomplish, the consistent part is the hard one.
If you are inconsistent with your rules, you can easily confuse and frustrate your dog. Share the rules with everybody in the household. If you forbid your dog from eating on the table with you, do not let any family member give him food on the table.
The last thing you want is your dog getting some mixed signals.
Establish a routine
Think of dogs as little babies. They function with a daily routine. Your dog might not know what time of the day is, or when it is five o’clock, but he knows which activity comes after which. That means if you start the day with walking the dog, make sure that is the routine on a daily basis.
Now, you do not need to plan his entire day. But you can insert small and short activities throughout the day. For example, a two to three minute tug of war after dinner, fetch in the morning, and so on. Make sure to have several fun and short activities throughout the day.
Keep hygiene at a high level
Good grooming and keeping your dog tidy is crucial for his health and well-being. Dogs want their coats to be free of any mats and tangles.
Try to help them with tangled hair by daily brushing. Bathing is a challenging process, and every dog needs different bathing schedules. Some dogs require more frequent baths, others, less frequent.
Last, but not least, despite how cute your dog looks, cut any haircut that blocks his vision.
Protect your dogs from scary environments
Some dogs are miserable in the company of a horde of children. They will feel afraid, scared, and try to run. Try to limit the presence of a horde of children, or try to educate children on how to treat your dog. Tell them they should not touch his tail, or scream in his presence.
In addition, protect your dog from noises he doesn’t like. Those include the vacuum cleaner, ceiling fan, doorbell, and similar. No matter how fun it looks when your dog is chasing the vacuum cleaner, try to clean when he is not home.
Rub them the right way
Dogs love their doggy massage and belly scratching. But not all dogs have the same spots. Some dogs have special and particular spots they enjoy being rubbed on.
For example, for some dogs, that is their butt just above the tail, others love belly rubs, and some enjoy a massage on their neck.
Vary their food
Pizza is great. But try to eat pizza every day for every meal, for one week. You will hate pizza afterward, right? Well, the same applies to your dog.
Yes, you might have found a particular great doggy food. But do not feed your dog the same food over and over again. If nothing else, try to mix some fresh food with their kibble.
The same principle applies to treats as well. We mentioned earlier you have to vary treats, especially during training sessions.
Provide a fresh bowl of water
Water is an essential part of our lives. We cannot survive without fresh water for more than 24 hours. The same applies to your dog. Make sure to provide fresh water at all times. If you are going for a long walk or a hiking trail, bring some water with you.
Let your dog be a dog
At the end of the day, dogs explore the world by sniffing and smelling. Allow them to be dogs. Do not rush them. When you are walking, let them explore the world by sniffing. Even if that means standing on the same spot for a minute or two.