A dog, also known as human's best friend, is happiest when he's healthy. Ensuring your dog's physical and mental well-being means keeping him stimulated, even when you are not home. Spending time with your pup and providing him with a healthy lifestyle is key to your dog's fulfillment.
Enriching Your Dog's Mind
Give your pup a job for when you're gone and he is left alone. Dogs are bred for a specific purpose, whether it be herding or hunting, and can misbehave when these natural instincts are suppressed.
- Create an obstacle course in which your dog follows a scent to his favorite treats.
- Provide him with food puzzle toys to stimulate his mind.
- Leave him with plenty of chew toys. These will not only strengthen his jaw and teeth, but also keep him from chewing up your shoes instead.
- Hire a dog walker or someone to play with your pet while you’re away.
Socialize Your Furry Friend
Keeping him isolated or at home all day can be detrimental to his emotional well-being and create fear when he finally does come in contact with other people or dogs. But always remember to take your pup’s personality into account so you know what his limits for socializing are.
- Take your dog on a walk, to the dog park, or set up play dates with other humans and their dogs.
- Have a friend, whom your dog knows and trusts, look after your pet once a week to get him used to other people.
- If your dog has a cautious demeanor, introduce him to one dog at a time, and only if the other dog is calm and won't frighten your pup.
Train Your Dog
This will not only increase his mental stimulation, but also strengthen the bond between you and your pooch by making your expectations for him clear. If you aren’t sure what training would benefit your dog most, contact a Certified Pet Dog Trainer.
Maintain Your Dog's Confidence
Believe it or not, your pup does have self-esteem, and there are things that you, as his owner, can do to keep it up. Praise your dog when he has mastered a new trick, along with other accomplishments.
- Remember that your tone of voice is the key to communication with your pet; praise for him should sound different than a command.
- Shy dogs require a confident pet guardian to help build their confidence.
Maintain Your Dog's Physical Health
Keep your pup active. Especially if he is alone all day, a dog needs exercise just like people do. Take your dog on a walk around the block or play a fun, interactive game with him.
- Hide and seek will stimulate your pet’s mind and body.
- If you have a high-energy breed, your dog could benefit from an agility class, which may be offered through your local shelter.
- A puppy is especially precocious, so active games like tug-of-war and fetch will burn some energy and help to socialize him.
- For an older dog with stiff joints, water activities are a safe, low impact source of exercise.
- If you have a small dog, consider finding a dog park that has specified areas where your pet can socialize with pup's his own size and temperament so you don't have to be skeptical of his safety.
Feed Your Dog A Wholesome, Real Food Diet
An animal is happiest when he can exercise, and to do so, he must eat healthful food. Choosing an all natural, human grade food for your pup gives them the nutrition they need to achieve optimal health, avoid the ailments caused by processed “pet foods,” maintain a strong immune system, and increase their lifespan.
And just as valuably, it gives guardians the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they’re doing the “right thing” for their beloved companion animal, and playing an active role in their enhanced health and longer life.
Ensure Your Dog's Safety At All Times
This includes making sure he has an ID tag on him, a fenced yard that will keep him safe from potential predators, and plenty of shade and water if he’s outside during warm weather.
- Make sure your dog is securely fastened or confined during car trips and never let his head hang out of the window where he could be hit by airborne objects or thrown from the vehicle.
- Unless your dog is extremely well trained, leashing him when outside the yard is important, especially if you’re in a high traffic area.
- Kids should always be supervised around a dog; young children should also never be allowed to hold a small dog as they can accidentally drop or injure him.
- Microchipping your dog is especially important, as ID tags, can often fall off or become illegible. If your dog is found, any veterinarian or shelter can scan your dog for a chip and contact your immediately. Remember to REGISTER your microchip!