If we would really pay attention, a dog’s life is what ours should be.
Healthy puppies and dogs have a pretty balanced life of eating, exercising, playing, cuddling, affirmation, and nap or sleep time.
Eating 2-3 smaller meal portions is better…
A dog that’s fed appropriately typically will only eat when it’s hungry. However, if you starved that dog all day and then put down a bunch of food it would probably hog it all up in one sitting, get sick, and over time if that kept happening the dog may gain weight. People try to do this same thing, and also become overweight. Skipping meals just encourages our dogs and us to eat more than we need.
For my dog’s, which have never been overweight, we’ve kept food down all the time, then they would simply eat when they are hungry. But I know not all dogs can be trusted and have compulsion problems, so limit their intake according to weight and age–divide what they need for the day in about 2 or 3 increments, whichever works for your schedule and your dog will be more satisfied and less likely to beg, overeat, get sick, or get into the garbage.
Dog’s actually need a walk at least once a day, BUT what to do when you live in Michigan or one of these northern states that have gotten pounded with so much ice, snow, and bitter cold temps? Some dogs can withstand the frigid below freezing temps and elements, but smaller breeds cannot. Most of my dogs have been inside all winter. And although I do not like crazy dogs running through my house, we’ve been doing this a few times a day. I run with them, and they love to chase me! It’s actually kind of fun.
Just as it benefits us to get the appropriate amount of exercise, it makes your dog happier and healthier too. A dog who gets the right amount of exercise is more relaxed, calm, and obedient. If you have a jumper, barker, biter–these aren’t always signs of aggression, but can be signs of boredom and the fact that your dog needs a good work out. Just being out in a fenced yard is not near enough. Dogs need to be walked and have times where they can run too. Mix it up, and you’ll find both you and your canine friend enjoying your new life together. Who knows, you might even shed some unwanted pounds?
Puppies and dogs love to play. They all may enjoy something different. Two of my dogs like playing tug o war, while my other dog likes to wrestle around playfully and scamper. Sometimes I mix play and training time together, keeping it fun, mixing it up, and yet teaching them patience and manners at the same time. Other times I get right down on the floor with them and play around with their toys. They love any time with me/ their owner. It doesn’t matter what you do to play with the, but that you do.
Playing is just as good for you, as it is for your dog. You both need it for good mental health. All work and no play will make you a dull pet owner. I stressed this important key element in one of my recent blogs if you’ve been following me and shared that 30 minutes of play twice a day is what most dogs require. How much time are you playing? Whatever you’re doing make it something both you and your dog will enjoy.
Dogs and puppies need to have daily affection to grow i health and confidence. Otherwise they can become fearful and anxious. Make time to just cuddle with your dog. Cuddling is actually good for us humans too, just petting a dog causes the release of positive endorphins which create healing and health in our body.
The power of touch is stronger than anything else you can give your pet and yourself. Hugs are proven to generate a better mood and promote health too. So give and get hugs often for both you and your dog.
Words of Affirmation…
Who doesn’t like to hear a word of praise for a job well done? Affirm or Praise your dog when he/she is good. “Yes! Good boy!” saying this will created a special bond between the two of you and enforce the confidence they need to be mature, happy and healthy.
We need words of affirmation for our well being too. Try to surround yourself with others who are upbeat, positive, and encourage.
Nap / Sleep…
We sometimes refer to the little episodes of dozing off, as “cat naps”, but dogs and humans do this too. Dogs are actually very conscientious of balancing their time out if you watch them They chill in between activities, so they can renew their energy and strength to give their full attention to you when you’re ready to spend time with them.
Why can’t we be this relaxed? We’re always stressed out with everything we have to do. But if we just set all that aside for a moment and chilled, took a little cat nap, we’d be stronger, more on task, and ready to go.
We often deprive ourselves of sleep and wish we had a dog’s life, when really your dog’s been there waiting for you to get the message all this time, that it’s actually possible, if you just loosen up on the leash the world has you on!
Have a happy week and weekend, enjoy your dog, your family, and your life 🙂
Rescued by a rescue 14 years ago, Lisa Freeman now rescues, rehabilitates, and trains dogs for obedience, pet therapy, and service dog work. She is also an award-winning author and speaker. Currently she lives in Owosso, Michigan with her loving husband, two grown sons, and three dogs. Read More