Have you ever gazed into your dog’s eyes, told them you loved them and wondered if they understood you? Well, after many years of being unsure, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s been scientifically confirmed that yes, your dog does know how much you love them! In honour of National Dog Day (August 26th), we’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to make extra sure they know how much you care - read on and get ready to set tails wagging!
Pexels / Chepté Cormani
Did someone say “walkies”?
Arguably the best time of day, most dogs will react to the ‘w’ word with much excitement, tail-wagging and joyful panting. Walk time is pack time and nothing makes your pooch happier than spending time with their humans - whether that’s taking a stroll to the dog park, frolicking on a dog-friendly beach, or stopping at a cafe for a puppuccino.
Your furry friend deserves the best and that includes looking swish at all times, so keep them looking their best on your outings with a fresh collar, harness or lead. Is your pooch prone to catching a little chill? Pop on a stylish dog coat or jumper to keep them warm and dry during the cold and wet weather.
Pexels / Aloïs Moubax
Playing together is an important part of dog life. It helps to develop important survival instincts as a puppy and, as an adult, it helps to strengthen bonds and release energy. While you’re on a walk, toys to chase such as balls and other thrown toys are fun for them to fetch, bring back and repeat.
While at home, tug toys (such as a rope) are a great way to play with your pup. Playing tug of war is a great physical and mental workout for your dog. Although many people think it encourages aggression, it doesn’t - it’s actually a great way to bond. Just make sure you don’t tug too hard or in a jerky motion that may damage their teeth!
If you have a very intelligent pooch that needs a bit more mental stimulation, puzzle toys are a great way to engage their minds on something, especially if you need to get on with other things around the house. Whether it’s a simple Kong toy or a more complicated puzzle, they’ll be kept busy for hours and will get a lot of satisfaction out of solving it - not to mention, getting a treat or two!
Finally, if you have a very hyperactive dog, doing some extra training with them is a great way to bond and work out their extra energy. You could teach them a new trick, reinforce some tricks they already know or even explore agility training by introducing jumps or tunnels. Some dogs will take to this kind of training better than others - the key is to be patient and to give lots of positive reinforcement when they do something well or praiseworthy.
Pexels / Bill-Emrich
Treats for paw-some pups
There’s a huge variety of treats out there for you to choose from, from bitesize training treats to chews that last them days, and from natural animal parts to vegan alternatives. It’s not only fun for your dog to get a treat, there’s also a great sense of satisfaction and happiness that we get seeing them enjoy something tasty!
Training treats are a great option to quickly reward good behaviour and positively reinforce tricks while keeping your pup engaged and not too busy eating to pay attention. They are small, bitesize and great for training puppies and old dogs alike. They also fit nicely inside most puzzle toys!
Natural dog treats are a great option if your pup has a sensitive tum or you want to stay away from the more processed kinds of treats. There are all kinds of natural treats for dogs available, including pig ears, chicken feet, grain-free biscuit options and even vegan chews!
Looking for something to keep them entertained for long periods of time? Bones, rawhide chews and natural antlers are good for keeping them occupied and will also help to keep their teeth and jaws healthy. It’s not recommended that rawhide chews are given to puppies because of their fragile teeth, but adults will love to gnaw on these delicious chewy bars.
Pexels / Lisa Fotios
Get comfy together
When all the fun of the day is over and done with, it’s time to relax. Whether it’s evenings spent lounging on the sofa or nights piled onto the same bed, spending quality cuddle time together is a sure-fire way to tell your pup you love them. As far as dogs are concerned, packs that sleep together, stay together.
If you love to curl up in the evenings and watch a film and your dog loves to lounge on the sofa with you, your furniture can start to look a little grubby over time. Help to keep your furnishings clean and fur-free by spreading out a blanket just for them when it’s time to get snuggly.
During the warmer months, your pup can overheat just like us humans, but because they can’t sweat the way we do, it can be more difficult for them to cool off. Keep them comfortable with a cooling mat - they’ll definitely appreciate it!
If you have a large breed, or you’re trying to keep your dog off the clean bed sheets, it may be a good idea to invest in a dog bed to let them sleep next to you instead. Alternatively, if your dog is too small or a bit too old to jump up onto the bed or sofa, why not give them easy access and freedom of movement with a set of steps so you don’t have to pick them up?
Whether you choose to play, train or snuggle up with your pup, they’ll soon understand just how much you really love them!