Improving your dog’s quality of life is a gift that keeps on giving: the more wonderful we make life for our dogs, the more ways they enhance our own.

1. Exercise

Dogs love to exercise and it’s good for them too!

2. Fight boredom

Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise to keep your pet healthy. Engage your dog’s mind with puzzles, new toys, games, and tasks. Your dog will also enjoy visiting new places and learning new tricks and skills.

3. Communicate with your hands

Most dogs learn visual signals faster than verbal ones. When training, you can communicate more clearly by using hand signals together with verbal cues – you might find that your dog understands your intructions better.

4. A good rubdown

No dog ever turned down a good massage. Massaging your dog will improve blood circulation, promoting relaxation, healing and bonding.

5. Nose work

Dogs have highly sensitive noses that enable them to enjoy the million different scents in the world. Using their noses comes naturally, so tracking or playing scent games can be very rewarding for dogs.

6. Fashion-free

Consider removing your dog’s collar at night – obviously make sure he is secure in your home before you do so. Dogs are likely to enjoy the freedom as much as we do when we take off our belts, watches or earrings. Dog behaviourists also say that the jingling tags actually bother many dogs and if possible, should be taped together or stowed in a pouch designed for that purpose.

7. Food, glorious food

While there is great debate over what type of diet is best for your dog, no one can disagree that a good balanced meal of any type of healthy and fresh food will be excellent for your dog. Evaluate what you are feeding your dog, do some research and ask your veterinarian for help in making good choices.

8. Good grooming

A dirty dog is an unhealthy dog. Dogs are also happier when they feel clean and fresh. A good coat, clipped toenails and clean teeth are a few things you need to ensure your dog has.

9. Playdates

While dogs are mostly contented with having you for company, socialising with other dogs can be very beneficial. Well-socialised dogs are friendlier, less likely to aggression issues, and happier!

10. Quality time

Dogs value the time we spend focused completely on them, and that’s easiest to do when there is no one else around. This is especially so in multi-pet households.

 

[Source: Bark Magazine Sept/Oct 2010]