How to make your dog happier: The ultimate guide
How to make your dog happier: The ultimate guide
Home » Blog » How To Make Your Dog Happier: The Ultimate Guide

Dogs are generally very happy animals. However, there are always ways that we can inject a bit more happiness into their lives. And into OUR lives too. So here’s how to make your dog happier.

In this ultimate guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about dog happiness and how to improve it.

Estimated reading time: 17 minutes

17 Easy Ways To Make Your Dog Happier

1. Design A Treasure Hunt

Hands up if you enjoy a good treasure hunt! Well, with just a bit of thought and creativity, you can create a really good fun treasure hunt for your pooch as well.

You could play this with your dog while you’re at home with her, but it’s much more fun to leave her to do the treasure hunt all on her own, whilst you’re out at work or doing the grocery shopping.

Firstly, hide several of her favorite treats all around the house. The idea is for your dog to find as many of the treats as she can, before you get back home.

Do the same a few days later, or a week later. Try not to leave it any longer than a week, though. This time, make sure that you put the treats in some different places.

The doggy treasure hunt is a simple yet effective game and it will help your pooch to stay fit and active while you’re out of the house. And your dog will LOVE you for it!

2. Make Some Time To Have A Cuddle On The Couch With Your Dog

Cuddle time on the couch with your dog is one of the most pleasurable things that you can do. And it’s really good fun for both of you!

If you do it towards the end of the day, it’s also a great way to help your furry friend to settle down and relax.   

Just like babies and children, dogs love having a routine. So, if it’s possible to do so, try having cuddle time on the couch with your dog at the same time every night. Your dog will thank you for it!

How to make your dog happier
Girl cuddling small brown dog

3. Give Your Dog A Job To Do To Make Your Dog Happier

Dogs love having their own jobs to do throughout the day.

Over the centuries, many of our dogs have been bred and trained to work alongside humans, especially in agriculture and farming. So giving them small tasks to do fulfils their natural instincts to work and be helpful.

There are lots of things that you could teach your dog to do. He could fetch the mail for you, go and get the house keys or car keys, or bring you your slippers!

Maybe you could teach him to help you tidy up the back yard. Or to put his toys away. Or how about putting him in charge of carrying his own treats when you go out for a walk?

There are lots and lots of little tasks, similar to the ones above, that your dog will be only too happy to help you with. In reality, the only limit is your imagination!

So give him his own jobs to do throughout the day and keep him both physically and mentally happy.

4. Give Your Dog Some Obedience Training

Giving your dog some basic obedience training is a must.

It will definitely make life easier and more fun for both you and your dog. And of course, you don’t have to do it yourself if you don’t want to. Find a local expert, who specializes in dog training and dog obedience. 

Or take your pooch along to a local dog training group. You’ll probably find several operating in your area, if you ask other local dog owners. Or do a bit of research online.

No matter which you choose, take your dog along for a taster session first, before you make any big commitments. It’s really important that you both like the trainer or the other group members, else neither of you will enjoy it.

Sure, it’s about dog training and dog obedience, but you don’t want it to be a chore – it should be fun for both of you. And if you do the training yourself, you could always look online for some exercises.

Get The Information From A Reputable Source

Just make sure that the information is from a reputable source, such as the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club or The Kennel Club UK.

No matter which method of training your dog you choose, she is sure to enjoy the boundaries and rules that will turn her into a good, well-trained house dog.

And if the training is of good quality, then it will stay with her for life.

So remember – a trained dog is a happy dog!

How to make your dog happier
Man with dachshund at a dog school

5. Take Your Dog To Visit Family And Friends

Like humans, dogs are social animals and most of them enjoy a good social gathering. So if you’re off to visit family or friends, take your dog along with you.

She’ll enjoy the interaction with others and it will give her a chance to be in a controlled environment that’s not her usual one. Great for her mental stimulation.

And unless your family or friends are really NOT doggy people, then the chances are that they will enjoy your dog’s companionship too!

6. Give Your Dog A Play Date

Children love having play dates with their friends. And so do dogs!

As we said earlier, dogs are social animals and if there are other dogs in your neighborhood that you know get on well with your four-legged friend, then why not arrange a play date for them both?

Invite their owner over for a cup of coffee and you can have a good conversation, whilst your dogs play happily together. Or, if the weather permits, you could all go out for a nice walk together.

Either way, you’ll be satisfying the social urges of both you and your dog. A win-win situation!

How to make your dog happier
A poodle and a white boxer rubbing noses!

7. Buy Your Dog A Toddler Pool

Buying a toddler pool for your pooch is a really fun thing to do. And it’s even more fun for your dog to have a little swim in it!

In hot weather, it’s a great way for your dog to cool off and she’s sure to enjoy it. Buy some water-friendly dog toys and put them in there for your dog to play with.

If you have a choice, it’s probably best to go for the hard plastic toddler pools, rather than the soft ones, as your dog’s nails could easily tear through the soft fabric.

They’re usually more expensive, but they’ll definitely last you longer. So it will probably actually work out cheaper in the long run!

8. Take Your Dog Out For A Good Walk To Make Your Dog Happier

I know this one is kind of stating the obvious, as we all know how important daily walks are for our furry friends’ physical wellbeing. But it’s also really important for their mental wellbeing, as well.

Sure, some dogs are naturally more active than others, but ALL dogs need exercise. And lots of it. The simple fact is that dogs need to get out and they need lots of fresh air.

Unfortunately, with today’s busy lifestyles, it’s also a simple fact that most people probably don’t take their dogs out enough.

So go on a really nice LONG walk with your dog every once in a while. Make it a weekly habit, if you can.

And if you vary the route each week, as well, you’ll both experience new places and new things. You’ll also both burn up lots of energy and keep yourselves fit and healthy at the same time.

So taking your dog out for a good long walk on a regular basis ticks lots of boxes. And does you both a world of good.

How to make your dog happier
A couple taking their dog for a walk

9. Help Your Dog To Maintain A Healthy Weight

This one goes hand in hand with taking your dog out for nice long walks. As a responsible dog owner, it’s important that you help your furry friend to maintain a healthy weight.

Yes, this DOES mean that we need to limit our dog’s food intake. Conversely, if we let our dog eat as much as she likes, then the likelihood is that she would probably eat an entire bag of dog food all in one sitting, given half a chance! (Come on, you KNOW that’s true!)

So your dog will be happier with a decent healthy weight, and she’ll feel a lot healthier and have a shinier coat.

Carrying excess weight around is uncomfortable for your pooch and increases her body temperature. It can also limit her daily playtime and potentially put her at increased risk of a wide variety of medical conditions.

10. Give Your Dog A Chance To Sniff Around On Walks

Here’s a really easy way to make your dog very happy. Simply let him sniff around on walks.

As well as being essential for his physical and mental wellbeing, Fido’s daily walk is a fantastic opportunity for him to see what’s going on in his neighborhood.

We use our eyes to take on board what’s going on around us when we’re out and about, but our dogs use their noses.

Simply letting our dogs sniff around on walks allows them to properly explore the world around them.

So unless your dog is causing a nuisance, or is in danger, maybe give him a little bit longer to explore his surroundings when you’re both out and about.

See – we told you that it was a really easy way to make your dog happier!

How to make your dog happier
Dog sniffing the grass next to a track

11. Have A Dance With Your Dog

Yes, really! Dogs love to dance. That’s the reason the Canine Freestyle Federation is such a huge deal.

And if you’ve never had a dance with your dog, then you are definitely missing out! It’s great exercise for both of you and really good fun, too.

There’s almost nothing that serves better to demonstrate the bond between a pooch and her owner.

So if you want to make your dog happier, put some music on and have a boogie together! You can be as wild, reckless and carefree as you like – particularly if nobody is watching!

We bet you enjoy it more than you ever thought you would!

12. Buy Her A New Collar

Another simple one for you. But then the simple ones are often the best ones!

Lots of dogs wear a collar all day, every day. It is, after all, a great way to keep them safe. But imagine if you had to wear the same dress or the same pair of trousers for weeks on end – you’d certainly get very bored of those garments before long, wouldn’t you?!

Well, our dogs are just the same. So do your dog a favor and buy her a nice shiny new collar from time to time. She’ll appreciate it and will surely enjoy the different texture and colors.

Go on, give it a try.

How to make your dog happier
Doberman Pinscher wearing a pretty black and red collar

13. Learn How To Give Your Dog A Massage

Who doesn’t love a good massage every now and then?!

It helps to relieve stress and relaxes us. Well, the same is true of our dogs.

Giving your dog a massage is a wonderful way to help them wind down and settle down at the end of the day and it can also be very relaxing for them.

A massage is especially good for dogs with arthritis. This is because it can improve your dog’s circulatory system, by stimulating the body’s muscles and tissue.

It also means that you get to spend more quality time with your dog. And as science has proven that petting animals actually improves human health, giving your dog a massage is good for YOU as well!

It lifts our moods, lowers our blood pressure and helps to reduce stress.

So go on, treat the pair of you by giving your pooch a wonderfully invigorating, health-improving massage!

You can thank us for it later.   🙂

Here’s an excellent article on the 5 Benefits Of Canine Massage.

14. Rotate Your Dog’s Toys To Make Your Dog Happier

You’ve no doubt got lots of toys for your dog in the house. And no doubt that on occasions, your dog gets bored with the same old toys. Well, there’s a simple solution to relieve this boredom!

Your dog is curious and wants to enjoy new things and new experiences. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go out and constantly buy him some new toys to play with.

Try this instead: Rather than having all his toys out at once, limit Rover to just a few at a time and rotate them around every week or every couple of weeks.

Once your dog has got used to only having a handful of toys around at a time, he’ll be genuinely excited to see that squeaky duck that he hasn’t seen in a while!

Try it. We think you’ll be surprised at how happy it makes your dog.

How to make your dog happier
An Irish Terrier with a soft toy pig

15. Make Some DIY Dog Toys

Following on from the last idea, about rotating your dog’s toys around, if you’re the creative type, then why not make some of your own dog toys for her to play with?

This could save you a lot of money in the long run and gives you an outlet to fulfil those creative urges. Especially when you know that your pooch will benefit from your creativity.

Lots of dogs enjoy ripping small toys apart and tearing the stuffing out of them. If that sounds like YOUR dog, then why not make her her very own restuffable dog toy?

It’s actually a lot easier to do this than you think and should only take you about 10 to 15 minutes.

If your dog loves treat dispensing toys, you could make her her own one, rather than buying one. All you need is an old plastic container, a pair of scissors and some dog food. And a little bit of time and patience as well, of course!

Here’s some instructions on how to make it.

Make A Tug Toy From An Old Pair Of Jeans

Or how about making your dog a fabulous tug toy out of an old pair of jeans?! Again, easier than you might think. Just 2 things are required to make the tug toy – an old pair of jeans and a pair of scissors. Just follow the simple instructions at this link: how to make a tug toy from an old pair of jeans.

For a fantastic way to give your dog a strenuous workout without breaking into a sweat yourself, make her a flirt pole. Yes, that’s right, a flirt pole.

It’s an easy DIY toy that not only gives your dog the aforementioned workout, but also helps her to work on her basic manners and impulse control.

And the best thing about the flirt pole is that you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home!

For more information about flirt poles and how to make one, take a look at this article here.

Of course, these are just some ideas of DIY dog toys that you can easily make at home yourself. There are lots of others out there – just do a bit of research and pick the ones that tickle your fancy.

16. Go Swimming With Your Dog To Make Your Dog Happier

For a fun outing, take your dog with you to your local beach or lake. Swimming is a form of low impact exercise, that will give your dog a good workout and help to keep him fit and healthy.

As it’s low impact, it’s the ideal exercise for more senior dogs or canines with joint problems, such as arthritis.

The water supports most of his weight, so swimming is a great calorie-burner for your dog. It will also improve his metabolic rate, without any risk of injury.

Swimming is the perfect exercise for strength, suppleness and stamina. And if you’re at your local beach or lake, then it’s free! What more could you ask for?!

Designated Dog Beaches

Designated dog beaches are ideal places to take your dog swimming. They’re also great places to meet other local dog owners and offer a safe and fun environment for both you and your pooch.

Ocean Beach Dog Beach in San Diego, California, is known as The Original Dog Beach. It’s a beautiful mile-long stretch of beach that’s an absolute paradise for dogs and their owners!

Farther north in California, close to Los Angeles, is Huntington Dog Beach. This lovely stretch of golden sand runs for around 1.5 miles and your dog is free to roam the beach and swim in the sea completely off-leash. It’s a liberating experience!

Just remember that if your dog is not used to water, then you’ll need to take it slowly. And if you’re planning on going into deep water, don’t forget the doggy life jacket.

How to make your dog happier
A black and white dog swimming in the water

17. Praise And Compliment Your Dog

If you want to maintain a long-lasting, happy relationship with your dog, then praise and compliments are absolutely essential.

Dogs are social animals and like humans, they love being praised and complimented for their endeavors. To get the very best out of your dog, the praise should be both verbal and physical.

So always be on the lookout for any good things that your dog does, no matter how small. Praise her, give her lots of compliments and pet her. Lots.

Remember how we said earlier that petting animals actually improves our own health as well. So a genuine win-win situation!

Even just a few minutes of petting and praising your dog will benefit her immensely. She’ll feel comfortable, secure, loved…….and on top of the world!

Conclusion About How To Make Your Dog Happier

So there you have it – 17 different ways to make your dog happier. Choose one way, a few of them, or maybe even all 17 of them. But the most important thing to bear in mind is to make sure that you have lots of fun with your dog whilst doing them.

Sources: With special thanks to our friends at Barkpost, Puppyleaks and iHeartDogs

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