We all want our dogs to be happy. Sometimes, especially if you fall into a bad routine, you may be missing a piece of the puzzle toward canine happiness. How can your really tell? Dogs give us clues, but there are a few ways you can be more confident in knowing your dog is happy.
1. He greets you with a wagging tail and relaxed position.
You can tell when your dog is excited to see you when you come home from work or school. He runs up to you wagging that tail, with a big relaxed smile on their face, some booty wiggles, and maybe even some happy crying. He is very clearly happy to see you and excited that you’ve finally come home.
2. All of their needs are being met.
Dogs are happiest when all of their needs are being met. This includes, quality food, a few comfortable and roomy places to lie down, daily exercise and daily mental stimulation.
The most common pieces of the happiness puzzle to go forgotten are exercise and mental stimulation. Does your dog get the “zoomies” or like to chew up or destroy inappropriate items? Sometimes, that can mean they are not getting enough exercise or stimulation. Playing fetch or flirt pole, walks, and runs are great for exercise. Training, puzzles and food toys are great options for mental stimulation. Food toys are especially easy for a busy family. Once they understand how the toy works, you can set it down and continue about your day.
3. Your dog is up to date on veterinary care.
Going to the vet, for most dogs, is not a joyful experience. However, a quick trip to the vet two times a year is a lot better than getting sick or being surprised by a new medical issue and being down for days or weeks at a time. Keep an eye out, if their personality or demeanor spontaneously changes, something may be wrong and a trip to the vet can help.
4. Your dog enjoys being active.
They have a favorite toy, or toys. They interact with you or other dogs on their own time. When you are petting or interacting with them they are present in the experience and not ignoring the interaction. Even seniors or physically handicapped dogs can be “active” in some way.
5. Throughout the day they are relaxed.
Their body language is loose. They make themselves comfortable, enjoy chewing or playing on their own and engage with the family for attention, snuggles, or play time. Naps are regular and they have a safe place to get away for alone time.
If your dog meets these 5 criteria, the chances are you have a very happy dog. If you are missing something, what can you change to meet the above criteria. Maybe they need a new or bigger bed, maybe something has been off and it’s time for a trip to the doctor. Or maybe some one on one bonding time and exercise is needed to get your dog back on track.
How do you think your dog is doing? Are they happy?