There’s no hiding it: We’re dog people. We’d do anything to keep our furry little mouth breathers happy and healthy. So, we thought we’d share a few simple ways to improve your dog’s life, without much extra effort on your part — but with a big payoff for your pup.
Go for a sniff. Your dog’s sense of smell is their primary sense, so their nose is how they make sense of the world. Especially if you have a high-energy or working breed, letting your pup stop and sniff more on your daily walks will give him more mental stimulation, and help him feel happier and more fulfilled — which means he’ll be more well-behaved when you get back home.
TIP: Want to take it up a notch? Some places even offer scent work classes or at-home kits, which can help train your dog how to better use their nose. To keep it simple, you can trace a “scent trail” through your yard or living room with one of your dog’s favorite treats and then hide it at the end of the trail. Start him off at the beginning of the trail, and see how quickly he finds the treat!
Vocab lesson. Dogs are pack animals, and they thrive on having a role and tasks to complete. Teaching your dog new words or commands not only helps him behave, but it also helps him feel happier, confident, and more well-adjusted because he knows what’s going on around him. Plus, the more words your dog understands and the more commands he knows how to complete, the more he feels like he’s supporting his pack (ie, you and your human family), so everyone stays happy.
TIP: Does your dog have certifiable mailman rage? Try teaching your dog a word like “friend” by repeating it whenever his favorite human buddies come over. Next time the mailman stops by, try saying “friend” to teach him a new association before the barking starts. Dogs react when they sense a threat or don’t understand something, so creating context by teaching them new words can make a world of difference. You can also try this with cats, or anything else your dog might have a weird vendetta with.
Take a vacay. Buddy up and take your pup to a dog-friendly hotel or campsite. Not only will you have a trusty travel companion, but your dog will be having a new experience, which will help him build confidence, learn to be comfortable in new environments, and feel more bonded with you. If your dog is crate-trained, pack his crate so that he has a familiar place to snuggle up.
TIP: If you can’t make it out of town, try a new activity you can do locally. If you’re near a body of water (and your dog is a swimmer) you could try standup paddle boarding, or if you’re near a dog-friendly park, you could head out for a picnic.