A dog is an amazing companion in our day to day lives. They are unassuming and will, pretty much, adopt the lifestyle of their owners. They manage to always be at our sides, regardless of what we are doing and that’s one of the reasons we love them! But there are certain things, in my experience, that we should be doing every day with our furbabies that, most of us, probably don’t. Engaging in the following activities will strengthen your bond with your dog, promote trust, and help your pup to have a healthy, happy, and long life!
- Get down on the ground and play/cuddle-I’ve been around dogs my entire life, and for that time, I’ve always had the habit of randomly dropping what I’m doing, getting down on their level and interacting with them. While it may seem a bit goofy, as I’ve aged I have realized that it actually provides a substantial benefit to my productivity and overall mood. I don’t have any fancy studies to back up this claim other than the anecdotal evidence of my experience, but it makes sense that it would be true right? Interacting with someone or something that you love elicits that emotion in us and people in love are, generally, very happy. So logic would dictate that having a few minutes to “be” with your dog every few hours would do wonders for us and them!
- Talk to your dog- Ok, I bet you are already thinking that I have lost my marbles, but stay with me, I promise this will make sense in a second. If you ever have the chance to read up on dog-human communication, you will find that science has shown dogs possess an incredible ability to read our body language. If you haven’t been living under a rock over the last decade, I’m sure you have also heard that human-human conversation/communication is 80% non-verbal. Putting these two facts together, we can see that, even if we are speaking absolute gibberish, the act of speaking to our dogs is like having a conversation with your best friend. It promotes bonding, love, and trust. So even if it, literally, makes no sense, it is an amazing idea to talk to your dogs all the time. While they might not understand the words, they definitely understand your body language, so there is a ton of communication going back and forth. If you really want to get good at reading and conversing with your pup check out On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas, Canine Body Language by Brenda Aloff, or Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin to learn what their body language is telling you!
- Stretch your dog- This article is a good resource for getting started with stretching. I recommend daily stretches for two reasons. First, it is very good for the dog to have their muscles stretched into positions they don’t normally find themselves in during the course of a normal day. As humans, we are able to stretch into a lot of different positions under our own power. Dog’s don’t have that same ability, by assisting our dogs with stretching it will help keep their muscles fit and elastic, avoiding injuries and provided a better overall health and fitness for him/her. Second, teaching your pup to allow you to put them in all sorts of positions builds trust and understand(sensing a theme yet?). Daily stretching sessions can be short and go a long way in building your relationship with your dog.
- Brush their teeth- Did you know that you are supposed to brush your dog’s teeth every day? I didn’t! It took an article that I saw on our facebook feed to let me in on that information. I transitioned to using a homemade toothpaste to save money(4 sets of teeth every day go through a lot of toothpaste!). Once again this activity builds trust with your dog when done in baby steps. This is a good resource on getting started with making teeth brushing a fun activity for both the dog and the owner! Dental issues with dogs tend to accompany a variety of more serious underlying issues, so daily brushing is vital to overall well-being!