Dogs love us unconditionally. They love us in spite of our foibles, downsides and mood swings. Despite an era of cell phones, texting, tablet devices, and an ever busy need to go-go-go, dogs are there for us every step of the way.
So what can we, as their guardians do to ensure we keep the bond strong between parent and pet? Here are 10 surefire ways to keep your dog loving you.)
1. Cut Down on Screen Time
Imagine what we look like to a dog—constantly staring at a box of that happens to blink, flash, and make funny sounds. Put the cell phone away, stay away from the home office, and shut down the laptop. Have a “no phone zone” where you and your buddy can bond, play and get back to the basics of fun!
2. Take Some Day Trips
When is the last time you and your dog actually spent an afternoon together? A day trip is a fun way to get back in touch with what really matters in life—moments with your BFF! A fall picnic or a winter walk can kick off the day, but continue it with a visit to a pet-friendly store, stop in to see a friend or pet-loving family member and top it off with a play session together. Selfies are encouraged for this activity.
3. Tackle Some Training
Try putting your pup through a Canine Good Citizen course, which is a fun and rewarding test you can train for on your own. The award honors the commitment of the owner to train the dog to be a “canine good citizen,” and the elements involved are ones all dogs should know. It is a great bonding experience no matter your dog’s age.
4. Go Mental
Mental exercise is as important as physical exercise, so keep a dog’s brain active and his instincts keen with a variety of activities. Of all the games we play, some of my in-house favorites include hide and seek, wrestling on the bed, and hiding under a pile of covers. Sometimes the best activities are those that require no money at all.
5. Plan a Pet-Friendly Vacation
If you’ve always wanted to get away and do something with your dog, start planning now. Traveling with a dog takes proper preparation, but it can be done. I have been doing this for over 20 years. When you come back with a suitcase full of memories and a cell phone stuffed with fab pictures together, the effort is oh-so-worth it.
6. Have a Heart to Heart
That’s right: Talk to your dog. You know you do it anyway. So sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your dog. Start including regular conversation in your daily comings and goings. In our household, we actually do chores and talk to the dog while he lounges. Whether or not he understands us is up for debate, but we know he hears his name and has our attention.
7. Hit the Pavement
Are you taking your dog for a regular walk? Is the walk for your dog or for you? Do you allow your dog to stop and sniff and take in all of nature’s aromas? Take your time, schedule a few walks into your day, and get in touch with your inner puppy, too.
8. Get Happy
Dogs don’t like us being up and down with moods any more than our friends or families do. If you have consistency in attitude and reaction, your dog will be a much happier being. It really is true that dogs can sense our moods. If you rant and rave, most dogs are going to cower and hide. In general, dogs who are around happy people will be happy, too.
9. Treat Time
Clean out the treat closet, bin or drawer. Many dog treats have expiration dates and if they don’t, then it’s probably time to toss them. The same goes for dog food: Dog food should be stored properly. If you feed your dog food that is expired, he or she won’t be too happy and it could cause health problems. Let your dog love you for many years to come and lose the expired stash.
10. Toy Story
Check your dog’s toys and do inventory from time to time. Toss any ratty old toys and make sure the others are durable and safe. If there is a toy in the box with sharp edges or chunks that can easily be swallowed, throw it out and replace it with a new plaything for your pup.
Feature image: via Shutterstock
Carol Bryant is the marketing and social media manager for BlogPaws. She runs the blog Fidose of Reality.