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Is Your Dog Happy?

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

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Steps to a Happy Dog

  • Most animals are happier if they have a set routine and know what to expect.

  • Exercise is a great stress reliever and should be encouraged. Dogs should be exercised aerobically for at least 20-30 minutes each day.

  • Food should be healthful and supplied on a regular basis at mealtimes. It is probably a good idea to change flavors from time to time to prevent boredom of a certain type of food from setting in.

  • Clear communication with dogs is helpful as a means of building a strong bond between owner and dog and as a way of alleviating stress. Dogs should be taught the meaning of one new word each month and it can be expected to develop a vocabulary of some hundreds of words. The better communication the less confusion.

  • Medical matters that are bothering the dog should be addressed. Parasites should be controlled, endocrine disturbances should be addressed, pain should be alleviated, and allergies should be attended to. You can't be happy as a dog when you're in pain or discomfort.

  • For dogs that are withdrawn, they should be coaxed out of themselves and encouraged to join in and be more social. You an do this by playing with them and encouraging them to interact with you or other dogs. Their involvement should be rewarded in no uncertain terms.

  • For dogs that are over attached and are unhappy or distressed when they are separated from their owners, they should be encouraged to develop independence and, literally, to stand on their own four feet.

    Summary

    The happy dog that arises as a result of the aforementioned adjustments will sleep well at night and look forward to and enjoy each day and the entertainment that it brings. Aggressive behavior should melt away, fears will be quelled, and annoying habits will be replaced by constructive alternatives. Once this happy Utopian state has been achieved, an owner will enjoy his or her dog even more and, perhaps more importantly, the dog will look up to its owner as it positively radiates appreciation and, what else, happiness.


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