How to keep your dog occupied and happy

Keeping your dog happy isn’t always easy. It may also seem as though any dog worth his salt should be able to entertain himself. However, things don’t always work out that way.

Fortunately there are many ways to keep your dog occupied and happy. Every dog loves:

1) Plenty of exercise. We’ve all heard this and wondered how to wear the extra energy from hyper Fido. For some dogs, a walk is enough. For others they need that walk, a run, a game of fetch and then another walk to get wound down.

A great solution for a high energy dog would be to take him to a play park where he can run, play fetch and wrestle with other dogs. The other dogs will likely have more stamina than you do and you’ll get more exercise packed in per time spent.

2)Plenty of training. Stimulate their brain to make them happy. After you’ve mastered the basics (sit-stay-come) there are hundreds of other options on what to teach your dog. The only limit is your imagination. Think television dogs. What obscure tricks can you train your pup to do?

If you’re not into the strange useless tricks, then use the tried and true commands of the well trained dog everywhere. You know you’ve met one… that dog that can play dead, roll over, hold a treat on his nose, shake paws, etc.

Remember to continue to reinforce each and every trick your dog knows during a session. You want to keep the old ones fresh even while you add the new.

3)Give your pup lots of praise and attention when he’s doing something that pleases you. Take the time to lavish attention on him. Everyone loves to be praised, your dog is no exception.

4)Give them food puzzles and/or chews. Food items aren’t good for long term occupation, and they’re not for every day, but they work in a pinch. If you’ve got a deadline to meet, if you’re feeling irritable- treat your dog. It will get them out of your hair for a while. Just don’t let them have chews unsupervised.

5) Toys are great for keeping a dog happy. Certain dogs become so attached to toys that they will lie still for hours just chewing and repositioning the item between their paws. My Yorkshire terrier poodle has toys that are a decade old. My lab mix squeaker-surgeon needs constant replacements. It depends on the dog, but either way they both love their toys.

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