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10 Easy Tips to Make Your Dog Really Happy

Cockapoo dog running through grass and flowers with tongue out on a nice day

Dogs can be such bundles of joy when they’re treated right, bringing energy and positivity to households in measures hard to compare. The term human’s best friend is a pretty accurate depiction of when a dog is kept in good spirits, but it’s important to know what makes dogs happy and to provide those things to them in the healthiest, most responsible way.

We’ve put together this list of 10 simple things you can do as an owner to make and keep your dog happy at home so that you’ll have the best relationship possible. If you have questions or concerns then please consult with your veterinarian who can provide you with the right guidance that is specific to you and your pet. 

1.   Walks and hikes

It’s a classic but for a good reason, as the importance of walking your dog cannot be understated. Walks provide your dogs with valuable physical exercise and mental stimulation, allowing them to expend some energy and enjoy all the sights, sounds, and smells available outside the house. Along with this, it also gives them time to go to the toilet in a safe and judgment-free environment – just remember to always have poop bags on hand! If your dog is well-trained, a walk or run off the leash in a permitted area will likely become one of their favorite things in the world.

2.   Praise and affirmations

Dogs can learn to understand basic commands with training and conditioning, but a lot of their communication skills are based on tone and vibe. If you’re wondering how to keep a dog happy in your home, make sure to shower them with praise, love, and words of affirmation with a soft and positive tone whenever appropriate. Giving them a loving cuddle and letting them know what a good boy or girl they are will do wonders for their resting mood.

3.   Provide freedom

While good training can be based on routine, there’s real value in giving your dog some autonomy in its day-to-day life. Learn the signals that they give when they’re hungry, in the mood for a walk, or fancying a bit of play, and respond to them accordingly. A bit of freedom will increase your dog’s confidence and overall happiness. Providing your dog or puppy with the freedom to be by themselves is also useful. Check out our guide to crate-training here.

4.   Use toys and choose properly

When wondering how to make a dog excited, toys and chews should definitely be a part of your plan. However, a couple of raggedy items aren’t going to be the most effective tools, as dogs can get bored of the same old things when overexposed to them. Make sure you’ve got plenty of options for them to enjoy, and rotate them accordingly to keep your dog feeling thrilled and full of joy at every playtime. Dogs love to chew and chew toys can be hugely useful in helping your dog's dental health.

5.   Play with them!

The toys aren’t enough on their own to keep your dog feeling happy and full of life — you need to get involved in playtime! Knowing how to play with your dog in a way that’s fun and exciting for both of you will provide them with valuable love and attention, along with offering different ways for your dog to expend some energy, ultimately strengthening your bond overall. Dog toys come in all different shapes and sizes and can add engaging dimensions to your play.

6.   Never stop training

When considering how to make dogs happy, you can look to consistent training as a good source of positivity. Basic training is important in the early stages of a dog’s life, but the more you train them, the closer you’ll become. If you can teach them new tricks and skills throughout their life, they’ll never stop feeling a sense of achievement, along with growth in their understanding of what makes you happy, which will make them happy.

7.   Arrange play dates

While the bond between dog and owner is really special, there’s still a lot of value in providing them with the time and space to spend time with other dogs. Reach out to friends and neighbours with their own dogs and bring the two together in your homes and backyards to allow them to enjoy the company of one another. Hopefully, they’ll make another best friend to enjoy their free time with in a more primal and natural way.

8.   Grooming

If a dog is getting the exercise and outdoor time that they need, then they’re going to pick up some dirt and mess. Knowing how to give your dog a good life is about more than the immediate fun, and good grooming is an essential facet of providing them with a good quality of existence. Keeping their coat and skin will keep them comfortable, as will keeping their toenails short and making sure they don’t have hair in their eyes.

9.  Give them treats

A good doggie diet should always be a part of your care routine at its base level, but along with nutritious food, you should provide them with delicious treats regularly to tantalize their taste buds, but always in moderation. If you’re not sure what brand to go for, there are plenty of homemade dog treat recipes (and homemade doggie meal recipes) out there so you can know exactly what’s going into your dog’s rewards.

10. Doggie massage

Everyone loves giving their dog a stroke, but delving into proper massages can be excellent for their physical and mental wellbeing. With the right amount of soft but considered pressure, you can take petting to a higher level, aiding your dog’s circulation and even helping them to recover properly from longer exercise breaks.

So now that you know what to do to make your dog happy, don’t stop there! Get to know them on a deep and personal level, learning all of their own nuances, intricacies, and -isms, and you’ll figure out what works for them specifically, making your bond totally airtight. For more interesting pieces on pet ownership and advice for pet parents, visit our blog

A great way to keep your dog – or cat – happy is to plan for the unexpected with pet insurance. PHI Direct is quality pet insurance at a low-cost currently available in Canada, excluding Quebec