From my experience with clients, friends, and family, there is no shortage of love when it comes to people and the dogs with whom they share their lives. People show this love in all sorts of ways – buying their dogs $600 dog beds, cuddling with them in bed, playing a game of fetch, and a bunch of other ways – hopefully not by buying them a box of chocolates, though!
Loving our dogs is a good thing. However, sometimes well-intentioned humans show that love in a way the dog either won’t notice or understand or in a way that will make the dog’s life and mental balance worse for the wear.
So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to give you 5 ways to show your dog that you love them that they will definitely appreciate!
2) Step up their training – in a lot of regards people don’t care about training their dogs anymore. The new model for training is more like problem solving than pro-active training. People tend to get their dog, bring it into their lives, and then if something goes wrong they call me or another trainer to help them out. Training basic things like sit, down, stay, come and how to heel are important even if you haven’t found your passion for dog training yet. These basic skills help your dog experience more of the world because when your dog has these basic skills perfected, you can bring them to more places in the world. After all, you don’t want to take your dog to a restaurant patio if he doesn’t know how to sit still in a crowd of people. That becomes no fun for everyone quickly. On top of all of that, training is a bonding activity where you and your dog get to work together to create something beautiful. It’s like taking dance classes with your spouse. The journey to perfect the waltz is more important than actually dancing the waltz perfectly at some point. If you love your dog, get those basic skills down so you can take him out on the town.
3) Play with your dog – Play is an important part of being a human or a dog. If you don’t learn how to have fun, then you don’t have a complete life. Simple as that. When it comes to fun, just like people, every dog is a little different. You know your dog better than I do, so you should know what he likes to do. Does he like to chase squirrels? Does he like to play fetch? Does he like to tug? Or maybe, like my dogs, he is obsessed with the flirt pole. In a life where structure and routine bring comfort, having fun still plays an integral part in having a balanced dog.
4) Check your food – How you fuel your dog is important. After all, are we doing a good job as pack leaders if our dogs are fat, lethargic, or even too skinny? You don’t need to break the bank on dog food, but make sure you are feeding your dog something he both enjoys and that is making him look and feel great. Maybe bone up on nutrition to make even better choices for your dog by reading a book like Dog Food Logic. Your dog will appreciate you preparing those intimate meals that both make him feel great and stimulate his taste buds.
5) Implement more structure in your dog’s life – This may seem like a funny way to share your love, but it may be the most important way I’ve listed because it’s the most common step well-intentioned dog lovers miss. If you love your dog, remember that structure and routine make your dog happier and keep him balanced. Our human instinct is to give our dogs as much freedom as possible – let them free roam the house, sleep wherever they want, and generally do whatever they want. Think about how your mind is put at ease at work or in life when you have someone give you a clear routine or structure and then give your dog that same peace of mind.
So now that you’ve spent all your money on roses, chocolates, and fancy dinners don’t forget to share some of those good feelings with your dog! They do their best to make you happy and you should do the same in return. Luckily, they don’t need you to blow your paycheck on fancy jewelry to do so. Just follow the low-cost list above and your dog will feel more loved and happy than ever.
Follow Andrew on Twitter: @drewwarner
Like Andrew on Facebook