5 Simple Ways to Show Your Dog You Love Them

I don’t think many of us have any doubts that our dogs love us unconditionally, yet it can be hard to know exactly how to reciprocate that feeling. Luckily there are some nice little ways to show that love, even if you have a busy schedule. Here’s a few simple things you can do to show your dog you love them.

Keep a Routine For Your Dog

One of the best ways to show your dog you love them is by providing them with a daily routine. They’ll feel more secure knowing when meal time is, when they get to go outside, when they get to play, and when their daily walk will be.

Like us, our dogs find comfort in a good routine. Knowing what’s expected of them and when, such as when it’s time for a walk and when it’s time to chill out for the evening, is an easy way to enrich their life.

Now when I say give your dog a routine I don’t mean you have to dedicate 6 hours every day to playtime. Come up with a routine for your dog that includes some fun things for them to do every day. Little activities throughout the day (as minor as they may seem) will enrich your dog’s life, and they’ll help cut down on problem behaviors that can arise out of boredom.

Take Your Dog on a Daily Walk

The benefits of walking your dog every day go well beyond just physical exercise — it’s important for their mental health as well. The daily walk is the one time a day your dog gets a chance to explore the neighborhood and find out what’s going on in the world around them.

And since dogs explore with their nose don’t forget to give them a chance to use it. When you’re out on your walk give them some time to sniff around for some extra mental stimulation and enrichment.

I always set aside a few designated “sniff breaks” for my dog on walks. I give her the cue “go sniff” and let her do her thing. When it’s time to head back I use the “let’s go” cue and we’re back on the trail.

Now I know it can get a bit mundane if you go the same route every day, so be sure to change up the scenery or change the pace to keep it interesting.

Include Some Quick Play Sessions Into Your Day

One of the best ways to bond with your dog is by engaging them in play, so it’s something I make sure to fit in every single day. The benefits of play go beyond bonding too; playing with your dog relieves stress, provides good mental and physical exercise, and can decrease problem behaviors by keeping your dog entertained and engaged.

Now I’m not talking about marathon sessions of frisbee in the backyard, I’m talking about a 5 minute game of tug here and there or a quick round of using the flirt pole in the yard. Quick, intense play sessions can really wear out both you and your dog, and they’re a great way to break up your daily routine.

Adding in some interactive play and games every day will keep your dog mentally stimulated. Not sure where to start? Some of my favorite mentally stimulating games include:

Keep Up With The Praise

This tip goes into keeping a routine to some extent — don’t forget to praise your dog when they do something you appreciate, even if it seems insignificant. The best way to get your dog to exhibit positive behaviors again is by letting them know how good they are, so don’t forget to keep up the praise.

When I sit down at my desk in the morning my dog knows it’s time for work, so she naps on the couch next to me, waiting for our afternoon walk. Now that didn’t happen overnight, but by praising her every time she did relax while I was working she began to understand that “this is chill out time, walk comes later.”

I also give praise every time she comes inside when I call, despite her already “knowing” how to recall — it’s a quick little reminder that I appreciate how well she listens, even if it’s an “old trick.” If you stop giving praise chances are your dog might decide staying outside is far more entertaining than coming back in.

Accept Your Dog’s Personality

Like us, no two dogs are alike, so when it comes to accepting your dog for who they are you need to respect their boundaries and personality.

One of the best dog training tips I ever learned was to ‘train the dog in front of you,’ and the same can be said for having a dog in general. What works for one dog may not work for another.

Some dogs are extremely social, thriving in day care and joyously meeting every dog they come across — others not so much. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on proper socialization with your pup so they’re confident around others; it just means some dogs have a bigger social battery than others.

Same is true for affection; not all dogs are big cuddlers, which can be a hard pill to swallow if you were looking for a snuggle companion. Does your dog like to sleep alone, despite you wishing they’d cuddle with you? While you can work on desensitizing your dog to you being near them when they rest with treats and positive reinforcement, chances are your dog will likely always prefer a more hands off approach when sleeping.

It’s easy to compare our current dog to ones we’ve had in the past, but for the sake of your current dog it’s important to adapt your style to fit the dog in front of you. Don’t get caught up with the idea of what you want your dog to be, accept them for who they are. Our dogs love us for who we are, it’s only fair we do the same for them.

5 Ways to Show Your Dog You Love Them

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