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10 Ways to Doggie Nirvana

By: Alex Lieber

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Perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects to owning a dog is the "happiness factor" – your dog's happiness increases exponentially with yours, and vice versa. If a happier dog means a happier owner, then maybe a revolution of joy will sweep the world to end wars, conflict and rude driving.

In the interest of pursuing this utopian agenda, PetPlace.com has put together a list of 10 ways you can change the world by making your dog happy. Most are linked to a more detailed explanation of how you can do your part to make all of our lives better and more fulfilling.

1. Give your pup a belly rub. Most dogs yearn for a nice, soft massage that moves the skin around a little bit. When you see her leg shaking, you know she's in puppy heaven. You may want to give her a professional massage, especially if she's older or recovering from an injury.

2. Make your dog some fresh homemade doggie treats. You don't need to be Emeril from the Food Network; just follow our easy recipes.

3. Teach your dog to dance. Trip the light fantastic with the most enthusiastic dance partner in the world. Canine dancing is becoming a well-known competition; maybe the two of you can win some ribbons. Suggested dance music: Salsa. (Stay away from those Saturday Night Fever soundtracks, unless you're alone.)

4. Make your dog your exercise partner. Unlike your human companions, you won't get whining excuses like, "But I exercised last month..." There are a lot of physical activities you can do together. Just remember, though, that your dog lacks a thumb, so she's probably not the best weight spotter.

5. Rent old Rin-Tin-Tin and Lassie movies. Or, for a more recent dog-glory movie, "Cats & Dogs." Maybe your dog has star power. Find out by reading Is Your Pet a Budding Star

6. While watching those old movies, let your dog sit where the cat usually does. She'll get a kick out of the novelty of being a diva. Of course, you'll have to make it up to your cat at some point. Losing her space is one of the cat's pet peeves.

7. Give your dog a good grooming, by you or a professional. Not only will she feel good having all those mats brushed out, it's healthy and simply good doggie hygiene.

8. Celebrate your dog's birthday. Don't know when it is? Make it up. And don't be afraid to celebrate her birthday two or more times a year.

9. Go to a dog-friendly park. Exercise, fresh air and lots of space to run around safely – you both need this.

10. Rub her belly again. Don't underestimate the power a good belly rub has on the world.

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