Dogs are indispensable companions for many people. They give their owners many unforgettable moments and active years in the best of company. So that not only you benefit from the human-dog partnership, but also that your four-legged friend can lead a happy and species-appropriate life, you must create the appropriate conditions and deal with the requirements of the animals. We have put together some tips and recommendations to make it easier for dogs to live happily ever after.
The following is explained in more detail:
- Nutrition – Healthy dog food
- Movement – play and fun
- Discipline – Rules and Boundaries
- Affection and attention
Nutrition – Healthy Dog Food
Proper nutrition is a prerequisite for health and performance. This applies to humans as well as to dogs. Since exercise is one of the most important basic needs of dogs, you cannot do without good dog food with optimal ingredients. An inferior diet ultimately leads to the animals suffering from health problems and a shortened lifespan in the long term. The freedom of movement is restricted, which means that the animals can no longer move in a way that corresponds to their nature. Therefore, invest in high-quality food and benefit from lower veterinary costs and a vital and happy dog. The selection of the food is massively complicated in view of the confusing market. The offer is enormous. Not everything that ends up on the store shelves is recommendable. Unfortunately, many products do not meet the requirements of dogs in any way.
When feeding, pay attention to your dog’s individual nutritional requirements in order to avoid overweight and underweight as well as under- or oversupply. The nutrient requirement results from the factors body type, age, weight, and energy requirements.
Movement – play and fun
One of the most important basic needs of a happy dog is exercise. Since dogs are descended from wolves, a high urge to move is anchored in their genes. Your nature requires sufficient movement. However, the claim to activity is misinterpreted in many places. Dogs are designed for roaming their environment. A wild herd covers many kilometers a day, spending up to twelve hours a day looking for food. This natural urge to move is predisposed.
If you want a happy dog, you need to live up to that demand for exercise. There are breed differences in how long dogs should be walked each day and the distance. But even for breeds that don’t require as much exercise, you should go for a 30-minute walk at least twice a day. Basically, there is no alternative to just bringing the dog into the garden so that it can relieve itself there. This type of exercise, which can hardly be described as such, is not compatible with species-appropriate husbandry and contributes to physical and mental atrophy.
Running together is also the basis for every healthy human-dog relationship. In order to present the essential basic needs in a comprehensible context and to underline the order in which they should ideally be applied on a daily basis, we have listed them below:
The movement should be given the highest priority. It can be used to prevent unwanted behavior and positively influence the health of the dog. Start every day with exercise and treat your dog to a long walk. Feeding should always take place after exercise. In this way, you mimic the natural connection between exertion and eating. As in nature, the dog first has to make an effort in order to then be able to devote itself to eating. If you have walked enough, you can also reward him with games. Play and fun are also important to the spirit of the animal. Meanwhile, you can strengthen the relationship and promote his physical and mental abilities. Try something new regularly and offer variety. You can create challenges with playful tasks. Treats attract attention and appeal to the animals’ sense of smell. All of these factors are important for utilization and contribute significantly to a balanced and healthy dog.
Discipline – Rules and Boundaries
While discipline isn’t as important for happy dogs as exercise, it shouldn’t be underestimated. Clear rules and consistently observed boundaries provide security in a pack and ensure order. In a normal household, you can’t do without it. Discipline-free dog training is not possible and represents a wrong interpretation of a species-appropriate attitude. Boundaries and rules ensure that an animal experiences itself as part of a safe structure. If you train your dog with discipline, he knows where his place is and can be balanced. If there is no educational framework that an animal can use as a guide, this inevitably leads to uncertainty. Stress ensues, your dog becomes unhappy and depressed. He needs the discipline to find his way around. So set rules and boundaries and stick to them. It takes a certain amount of patience and consistency to train a dog well, but this point is elementary for species-appropriate husbandry.
Affection and attention
If a dog receives neither attention nor affection from its caregiver, it cannot be happy in the long run. Dogs are dependent on humans and one of their basic needs is affection. However, quality rather than quantity is required at this point. Affection and attention should never be used excessively. Too much of a good thing can lead to undesirable behavior. However, a healthy amount of stroking and concentrated employment phases between humans and animals are essential for a happy relationship. The decisive factor with regard to affection is that this only follows when the dog shows positive behavior and has fulfilled certain tasks. As already mentioned, the correct order in the daily routine must be observed. Affection as a reward strengthens the bond between you and your dog. Of course, you can also stroke your dog for no reason or give it a scratch from time to time. In general, however, it is not advisable to shower dogs with love. This behavior quickly changes and disobedience is the result. A dog must “earn” affection to some extent. It is no different in a feral pack.
It is not difficult to enable a dog to live a happy life, but as the owner, it requires a certain level of knowledge and understanding of the genetic predisposition of the animals. A healthy diet, plenty of exercise, sufficient discipline, and affection are the key factors. Put them in a species-appropriate relationship to create the basis for a balanced human-dog relationship.