Anyone who has a dog knows they’re more than just a pet. They’re a member of your family, a constant companion and a BFF that’ll let you talk about your problems as long as you want without telling you to just get over it already. Show them how much you appreciate them in 10 simple steps.
1 – Don’t Set Them Up for Failure
Image: Cesar’s Way
Even the most well behaved dog is going to get into trouble sometimes. If you know your pooch is going to dig through the garbage while you’re gone or use your TV remote as a chew toy no matter how many times you try to teach him not to, it’s your own fault if these things are easily accessible when you’re not around. It’s easier to think of a quick solution (like getting a garbage can with a lid) than come home aggravated at the mess every day. So put your big fancy human brain to work and figure out a way to prevent the problem before it happens.
2 – Put Them to Work
You don’t need to make a resume for your dog, prep them on their interview skills or anything like that, but signing them up for a little volunteer work can be a fun bonding experience for the both of you. Not only will it give your dog a chance to socialize more, she’ll also get the chance to enhance the lives of others while doing the same for herself.
3 – Feed Them the Good Stuff
Image: Getty Images
If you hit the farmer’s market every weekend and constantly seek out the best organic, non-GMO foods for yourself, why would you feed your four-legged friend anything less? Do a bit of research into the brand of food you're feeding your dog and find the best all-natural option to ensure your pup stays healthy and by your side for as long as possible.
4 – Train Them
Image: Fetch Me A Treat
You know the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Totally false. There’s no cap on how much your dog can learn, so spare a few minutes out of your daily schedule to work on a few basic commands with your pup. You’ll both be thankful for it since you’ll finally get him to come when called and he’ll get the mental stimulation he needs.
5 – A Tired Dog is A Happy Dog
Image: Attack of the Cute
Just like getting daily exercise is good for us, it’s good for your pooch too so why not do it together? A quick 30 minute walk gives them a chance to socialize, take in the smells of your neighborhood, and makes it less likely that they’ll run around your apartment and knock over your favorite lamp because they’re full of energy.
6 – Start A Doggie Bucket List
No one wants to think about losing their furry BFF, but it’s a sad reality all us dog owners have to face at some point. Make the most of your time together and create a small doggie bucket list full of fun activities and adventures. Whether it’s small things like buying the biggest bone at the pet store or feasting on hamburgers and ice cream from McDonald’s or more grand ideas like going on a road trip together and swimming in every lake on the way there, at the end of the day you’ll be glad you created those memories side-by-side.
7 – De-Accessorize at Night
Image: Three Million Dogs
When you finally climb into bed after a long day and get to take off all your jewelry, it feels so good right? Well, give your pooch the same pleasure. Make a habit of removing their collar at night or at least taping the tags together to stop the jingling, which can be bothersome to dogs, and they’ll thank you (in some way) for it. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
8 – Arrange Play Dates
Image: American Kennel Club
Call your fellow dog moms and get the pups together for a play date or hit the local dog park. Letting your dog play with their fellow canines off the leash reduces the chances of them developing fear and anxiety towards other dogs. Not only will your dog will get a chance to play and work on their social skills, you’ll also get a nice, tired dog out of it.
9 – Set Up A Spa Day
Image: Halo House Animal Resort
Just like you have a standing appointment with your hair stylist, the same should be true for your precious fur-baby. Regular grooming keep your dog looking fresh and it’ll make them feel better too since matting can tug at their skin and having long nails makes it hard for them to walk comfortably. So the next time you’re heading out to the salon, drop your pup off at the groomer’s on the way and you’ll both turn heads on your next jaunt through the neighborhood.
10 – Treat Them Like Part of the Family
Ok, so while you don’t have to take super awkward family photos with your dog just to show how much your care, it is a good idea to try and include them in as many activities as possible. They’re going to be with your family for years to come and making them feel loved will result in a happier pup and an even better companion.
Main Image: Evan Sheline