Life is short.
Love your puppy.
Or at least that’s how we feel about it.
Truth is, unless you’ve been studying and tuning into what it is that makes your pup shine, some days it can feel straight up hard knowing how to best love your loyal little fur-ball.
So in today’s blog post, we’re addressing lots of frequently asked questions to equip you in providing your pup with a life they love.
Perhaps you already have a Fido that’s depending on you for adventure, or maybe you’re still on the search to adopt a puppy in Indiana or New York or beyond.
Either way, read on if you are looking to discover how to provide your pup with a life they love.
First things first, let’s look at what dogs do not like.
What Do Dogs Hate?
Between humans, it’s totally acceptable to greet your besty with a big hug and kiss on the cheek.
Not so with a grown dog.
While a friendly pat or gentle stroke across the back may be fine, most dogs do not enjoy long hugs of affection.
Especially around strangers, puppies and dogs may appear wary to allow folks into their personal bubble.
So instead of forcing your puppy into uncomfortable situations, see that your pupper feels safe by allowing time for trust to build between dog and human.
Furthermore, the next time you head outside for a brisk doggy walk, keep in mind your Fido’s love for adventure.
Take note that dogs hate being denied opportunities to sniff and explore wide open spaces.
Walks are meant for more than exercise alone.
Allow your dog the privilege of a stimulated imagination as he or she eagerly explores on your next jaunt through the park.
Children hate being yelled at. Adults don’t like it either.
Dogs? They’re much the same.
Raise your voice, yell, or speak to your dog in a harsh tone and it’s likely you’ll hurt your dog beyond what you ever intended.
If you’re looking to help your canine thrive, know that puppies, dogs, and aging canine seniors alike hate being spoken to in harsh tones.
What’s more, dogs despise being ignored and confined to a cage for long periods of time.
While there may be introverts and extroverts all in the same litter, every canine loves a good dose of love and attention.
It’s true dogs were first created as pack members. As a result, although today they seldom spend their days herding sheep or hunting in the wild, dogs still want to be involved wherever the action is.
So in the event you land yourself a social little pupper pal, you can bet they will adore center stage any time you allow it.
Now that you have a clear understanding on what not to do with your canine buddy, let’s look at those things that make your fur-pal thrive.
What Do Dogs Like Doing?
Dogs have a unique ability of turning nearly anything into a hearty good time.
Whether it’s digging holes in the backyard, dragging dirty socks around your home, or chasing a Frisbee for the umpteenth time across wide open spaces, canines can find joy in nearly anything.
It’s always a good idea to think ahead and look for constructive ways to provide your puppy with exciting adventures.
Unless you are proactive in providing constructive alternatives, you can count on your Fido to nip on heals, chew up couch cushions, gnaw at furniture legs, and tangle in chords as they keep life exciting for themselves.
Fortunately, these behaviors can soon be sidestepped with a little thought and planning on your part.
First, learn to read your dog’s body language.
A dog who is happy and thriving will often display a relaxed body, mouth, and ears coupled with a grin from ear to ear.
Their tail will wag ferociously from side to side as their entire body sways in pleasure.
Some happy dogs will even be eager to meet new people and are quick to jump in glee.
Second, incorporate lots of mental stimulation and exercise into your dog’s daily routine.
Never get stuck in a single rut.
Instead mix things up and be alert for what makes your puppy most happy. Happy dogs don’t just happen by chance. Each pup is bound to be unique and preferences are likely to change with time.
For example, a maturing pup will likely enjoy different games than those preferred by aging doggy seniors.
Following is a list of activities to keep your pupper stimulated and loving life.
Backpack for the Weekend
Whether it’s a one-day excursion or weekend get-away, take your Fido along on your next backpacking outing.
Be sure your dog is first in shape and ready for the adventure.
Also, ensure where you are headed is a dog friendly premises and don’t forget to pack the basics.
Lots of water and food are a must, and first aid supplies may prove handy while on the trail too.
Take a Day Trip Together
Remember many canines love adventure.
Being confined to a single home day after day is the perfect key to a bored, stubborn, and ill-trained dog.
So in place of unpleasant confinement, take your dog with you on your next day trip.
If it’s safe, ride with the windows open.
Crank up your favorite music.
Stop for an occasional potty break.
Stash a few treats, and allow your fur-ball space to explore for a day.
Visit Dog Parks
Perhaps it’s always the same park, or maybe you have access to a variety of dog parks.
Either way, hit them up with your dog buddy.
Dog parks are often fenced areas where your Fido is free to explore and enjoy wide open space.
Both puppies and dogs can often roam alone or socialize with other dog-friends who are also enjoying the park.
If your dog is small in stature, however, you’ll want to provide extra supervision to keep him or her from getting run over by larger dog friends.
Perhaps a staple in the dog-game world, Frisbee is a favorite for dogs who enjoy jumping and running with the wind.
There’s seldom a dull moment as a dog tears through the wind to chase – over and over again – that flying Frisbee disc.
Do note, however, that too much running and jumping can place unhealthy stress on your dog’s developing joints.
If Frisbee is a favorite for your dog, speak with your veterinarian to learn proper exercise limits for your athletic pal.
Enroll in Obedience Training
Obedience training can happen both informally in your home or formally with a local dog trainer.
You can opt for high level competitions or stick with basic cues used on the daily.
Either way, obedience training teaches communication between you and your dog as well as fosters a healthy bonding between dog and human.
Hit the Water
Believe it or not, dogs are often more relaxed and skilled in the water than people.
They often take to the water easily and love a good cool off during hot summer months.
You can bet that a cruise across the lake or a swim in your nearby pond will leave your Fido waging ferociously from side to side (and possibly begging for more!).
Perhaps obvious at first read, it’s true to the core.
Training, tricks, and games are all good and fun but sometimes what your dog will love the most is time with you.
Created as pack members, dogs thrive on time spent in community.
They love to see you smile, they thrive on making you happy, and they will always adore quality time together.
Which brings one to wonder, can dogs have best friends?
Can Dogs Have Best Friends?
Watch a pup inside a group of people or with other pets and it’s likely the little fur-ball will be drawn to one favorite friend.
Among a pack of dogs, a puppy will often be attracted to dogs who play similarly or who share common interests.
For example, large hunting dogs will often enjoy company with other hunting dogs while tea-cup varieties will adore some puppy time with other little puppers.
Seldom do you find a tiny tea-cup puppy best friends with an athletic hunting canine, although there’s always the exception.
Beyond favorite doggy friends, a dog can bond and become friends with more than fellow dog mates.
Best friend status can be reached with the household cat, a friendly rabbit, or a winsome little hedgehog.
Not to mention, dogs are known to connect and form deep bonds with their humans too.
So while your dog might have special pet friends, you might be your pup’s lifetime besty!
Don’t be fooled, though.
Just because you are the besty doesn’t mean your dog adores all your forms of sharing love around.
Do Dogs Like Affection from Humans?
While you might prefer a big bear hug, many dogs prefer to share affection in the form of a belly rub, a stroke across the back, or a kind facial expression.
Shared experiences are always fun too.
Talking to your dog, cuddling on the couch, or sharing treats in front of the TV screen are often a welcome experience.
In addition, dogs love to share affection in the form of friendly licks, an exuberant jump, or a casual rub against your leg.
They’ll engage their whole body in a playful dance, they’ll nudge with their nose to make their way known, and they’ll lean in hard as if to give you a dog-style hug.
If they trust you deeply, they may even roll on their back begging for an affectionate belly rub.
Unfortunately, not all dogs enjoy happy and trusting relationships.
In such cases, stress in particular has shown to directly impact a canine’s life.
Can Stress Shorten a Dog’s Life?
The short answer? Yes.
Research has found a direct correlation between dogs who are anxious and fearful around strangers to be more likely to live shorter lifespans.
In addition, fearfulness and separation anxiety have proven to be direct predictors of canine skin problems.
Among humans, stress hormones negatively impact the immune system leaving it more susceptible to infectious diseases.
For dogs, stress holds similar implications as stress directly challenges a canine’s health and longevity of life.
Things likely to stress your growing canine include:
- Fireworks (July 4 is never a fun time for most doggy friends!)
- Highly processed, commercial food
- Isolation for long periods of time
- Lack pf proper exercise
Drawing attention to exercise specifically, a slim dog soon translates into a fit and happy dog.
Not only are dogs who are active and in shape less prone to injury, they are also likely to sport healthier hearts.
Just be careful to not overdue the exercise sessions.
Many dogs may not know when to rest. It’ll be up to you to insist on that water break or cool down session after exploring a new trail.
In addition to exercise, if your adult dog is sporting some canine chub, consider switching to this premium adult weight loss kibble designed to promote optimum dog health.
Once you’ve removed unnecessary stress factors, the question begs asking if there might still be something further to be done to lengthen your Fido’s life.
Can I Make My Dog Live Longer?
No matter how hard we wish, dogs simply don’t live forever.
Still, there are steps you can take to increase a dog’s chance of enjoying a longer life.
Generally speaking, smaller dogs will live longer than their larger canine counterparts so if you’re looking for a pup with lots of years, be sure to check out these small dog breed puppies.
Additional steps to lengthen your dog’s time with you include:
- Feed a premium dog food. Whether you opt for one of these premium kibbles or choose a brand from your local food shop, be sure the food you are feeding is giving your Fido the nutrition he/she needs on the daily.
- Remove stress. As mentioned previously, remove those elements that may be adding stress to your buddy’s life.
- Foster good hygiene. Plan to brush your pup’s teeth at least twice a week. Remember the occasional bath, and keep that fur coat gleaming with a regular brushing.
- Do something together every day. Dog’s love doing life alongside their humans. Build a trip outdoors into your daily routine.
- Promote dog happiness. Nothing makes your Fido thrive more than a jolly good time with a grin stretching from ear to ear.
How Can I Make My Dog’s Life More Fun?
Considering that a happy dog often means more years together, keep your Fido’s life fun by incorporating the following ideas.
- Fight boredom. Be intentional about exercising your fur-ball’s brain and body through games, tricks, exercise, and more.
- Avoid fancy garb. Sure, your pup may look truly adorable in that little bonnet and frock but the truth is, most dogs prefer wearing their lush fur coat and nothing more.
- Keep life adventurous. Allow your dog opportunity to make his/her own choices. Plus, alternate toys, treats, and games to keep life exciting and full of adventure for your maturing canine.
- Be attentive. Live on the alert for what your dog prefers. Look for possible needs, be aware of how your Fido responds, discover what makes him/her happy, and always be sure to give your buddy daily minutes of undivided attention.
- Encourage socialization. Provide your pup with time to socialize not only with yourself, but also with other dogs and pets including the cat, a rabbit, or even your family hamster.
- Check necessary gear. When embarking on your next outdoor adventure, double check that your dog’s harness and collar are comfortable and secure.
Summing It Up
If the list feels endless for how to give your pup the best life, pick just one thing to start today.
Whether that’s upgrading your dog food or adding more quality time throughout each day, start with a single action step.
Once you’ve mastered the first step, come back and pick a second idea to start working on. (Sometimes it’s the small steps that hold the most long-term potential!)
And all along the way, enjoy bonding with your canine friend as you work to give your dog the very best life.
Maybe you are already building things into your day to improve your growing dog’s life.
If so, we would love to hear what you are doing in the comments below.
As the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.