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I believe that all dogs were made to make this world a better place, make us smile, and bring joy to our lives. 

It’s the little things that matter. It’s like when you come home from a long day at work and your pup rushes to greet you happily… showering you with kisses and uncontrollably wagging his tail. 

Or, like when the whole world seems to stop when you pet your dog, and for a second, everything is just right. This little furry creature will do anything to make you happy, but have you ever wondered what you can do to make him happy?  

#1 Get To Know Your Dog 

photo of an adorable pomeranian dogphoto of an adorable pomeranian dog
Photo from: @pomeranian_klub

Every dog is different, so if you really want to make your pooch happy, you will need to get to know your dog as an individual. 

According to renowned psychologist and positive dog trainer Zazie Todd, there are two possible ways of making your dog happy. 

The first is minimizing any experience and situation where the dog is fearful, and the other one is actually knowing what your dog likes and enjoys doing. [1] 

Learning dog language can help you a lot with understanding and recognizing your dog’s emotions and his communication signals. This will ensure that your dog is both well-behaved and happy. 

#2 Spend More Quality Time With Your Pupper

Photo of a man spending time with his dogsPhoto of a man spending time with his dogs
Photo from: @elliegoldenlife

Dr. Clive Wynne, behavioral scientist and founding director of Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, says that making a dog happy is all about “protecting your dog from loneliness” and “protecting your dog from pain”. [2]

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Dogs are social animals, and they have a unique ability to create a special bond with humans. After all, a dog isn’t called “man’s best friend” for nothing. Your dog will especially value time spent with you, so whenever it’s possible, try to be with your dog. 

You should pay particular attention to this if you own more than one dog. Try to set aside special quality time for each of your dogs and you’ll see how happy it makes them. 

#3 Learn A Dog Massage

tips for animal massagetips for animal massage
Photo from: @allpawsmassage

Most dogs love to be petted. From head scratches to belly rubs — it’s definitely one of their favorite activities. However, if you want to step up your game and make your dog extra happy, I recommend trying a dog massage. 

The benefits of a dog massage are numerous. It can reduce stress and anxiety, relieve joint pain, boost your dog’s immune system, improve mobility, and most importantly, strengthen the bond between your dog and you. 

#4 Increase Playtime And Playdates 

three golden retrieversthree golden retrievers
Photo from: @dory_of_mpls

Playtime and playdates are important to dogs, just like they’re important to children and their upbringing. It provides them with both mental and physical stimulation, which is necessary for their health, as well as their happiness. 

If your dog is a social butterfly, he will love playing with his furry friends, but it is also okay if he doesn’t enjoy playing with other dogs. It’s up to you to figure out what the best is for your pup. 

Sometimes, your company will be much more appreciated. Try to experiment with different kinds of games and activities that will bring joy to your beloved pooch. 

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Related: Best Interactive Dog Toys: 22 Ways To Keep Pups Entertained

#5 Balance The Routine And New Experiences 

Man and dog on a hike, pursing new experienceMan and dog on a hike, pursing new experience
Photo from: @adventuringwithnala

It’s true… dogs are creatures of habit, and they thrive on routine since it provides them with structure and a sense of security. 

However, you can occasionally try to incorporate some new experiences into their life to fight off boredom. But, your dog’s wishes and needs should always be taken into account. 

If you notice that your dog loves the new treats you’re giving him or enjoys going to a new dog park, then by all means continue exploring your options. 

#6 Make Your Dog’s Life More Interesting 

Photo of a happy dachshundPhoto of a happy dachshund
Photo from: @lulas_dinky_doggy_daycare

Dr. Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, notes that “so many home dogs are just bored”. [3] According to him, dogs love enrichment. 

“It basically means that these animals, given the choice of easy-to-get food or hard-to-get food, don’t mind working.” 

Dogs shouldn’t be compelled to work; however, the right kind of activity or job can significantly enrich their life. Some dogs might take an interest in hunting, agility, or even therapy, and incorporating this kind of activity in their life will definitely improve their happiness levels. 

#7 Give Your Pooch Some Freedom

photo of a happy dog who enjoys freedomphoto of a happy dog who enjoys freedom
Photo from: @sr_ozzy_dog

Allowing your dog to be himself is the key to his happiness. We tend to restrict our dogs in order to make them more obedient; however, they can benefit a lot from just a little bit of freedom. 

Let your dog perform as many natural behaviors as possible. He wants to sniff? Let him… as long as he is safe, there is nothing wrong with that. 

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Try to include your dog in the decision-making process. Instead of forcing him to do something, see what he would like to do. Allowing your dog to make some small choices in his daily life can make your dog much happier. 

@good.boy.ollie

The best day ever! ⚓️ #beachday #labrador #dog #dogsoftiktok #fyp

♬ Sunny Day – Ted Fresco

#8 Feed Your Pup Well

labrador retriever licks his mouth after eatinglabrador retriever licks his mouth after eating
Photo from: @caesar.lab

Everyone knows that dogs are obsessed with food. This is something that brings them a lot of happiness, so it’s also something that you should pay attention to. 

You know how they say: “when you’re hungry, you’re not yourself”? This is completely true. So, make sure that you feed your dog well, with healthy and nutritious food. If you’re not sure what the best type of food for your pooch is, ask your veterinarian for help. 

#9 Master Positive Canine Education

border collie trained with positive canine educationborder collie trained with positive canine education
Photo from: @milo.and.isla

Positive reinforcement and dog training are very important in your dog’s life. Dog training shouldn’t be stopped once your dog has learned the basics; instead, continue training him for as long as he needs it… or for as long as it makes him happy. 

This is an excellent way to challenge your dog’s brain, and keep him entertained, stimulated, and therefore, happy. Regular training sessions are not only a great way to bond with your dog, but they also eliminate your dog’s frustration and anxiety. 

Dogs love praise and treats, and by providing them with both, they will look forward to learning new behaviors and tricks. 

The Happy Ending

There are a lot of ways to make your dog happy, but in the end, I want you to remember that your dog is an individual and should be treated like that. 

Dog owners often forget that dogs can be completely different, even if they belong to the same dog breed. Just because you once had a dog that liked something doesn’t have to mean that your next dog will also like it. He might, but most of the time, that’s not the case. 

Try to get to know your dog’s personality and all his quirks. Not only will you fall in love even more with your pooch, but you’ll be able to cater his needs in a much better way. 

Read next: Why My Dog Doesn’t Like Me, And How To Turn Things Around

References: 

[1] Todd, Z. (2020). Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. Greystone Books Ltd.

[2] Wynne, C. D. L. (2019). Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You. Houghton Mifflin.

[3] Bekoff, M. (2019). Working for Food Enriches Dogs’ Lives and Breaks the Boredom. Psychology Today, Retrieved April 02, 2023, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/animal-emotions/201905/working-food-enriches-dogs-lives-and-breaks-the-boredom

By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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