Updated: Nov 27, 2019
I'll be the first to admit it.
I'm obsessed with my dogs. My heart feels full just because they exist in my life.
Do you ever just look over at your dogs and think, how did I get so lucky to have them in my life?
I do. All.the.time.
How can you not? Dogs are basically life's way of making up for every crappy day ever. I mean, they love you unconditionally, more than themselves, in a way that no one else can.
I don't know where I'd be without my furbabies. I'm not sure anyone can fully explain the bond we have with our dogs. Mine are my everything and I know you feel the same.
Ever wonder how you can show your dog your undying love for them in a way they they'll "get?" Tell them in Dog Language!
How to show your dog you love them:
Talk to them. No, dogs don't understand English ;) But they understand energy and love hearing your voice. The other day, my husband Kasey happened to have the day off and said from the hall in front of my office "Is this what you do all day? Have conversations with the dogs when no one else is around?" Umm.... of course not? ... Ok maybe a little.
When I'm feeling low, you can often find a pup curled up in my lap while I rub his or her ears. Penny and Charlie have a way of always "knowing" when I'm stressed and this helps to reduce anxiety for both of us by releasing oxytocin naturally in our brains. Oxyoticin is the love hormone that binds humans and dogs together and mimics the human mother-baby bond. Kasey lovingly refers to it as their "therapy ears".
Play with your dog! Nothing shows your pup you care quite as much as one-on-one quality play time. They have so much love and excitement for your existence and they need to get it out- so playing a fun game of fetch or tug can help them burn off a bit of that energy.
Spend time cuddling together. Let your pup up on the couch or sleep in bed with you at night. Snuggles after a meal are in general a great time in the doggy world :)
Let them lean their body on you- it's a dog's way of hugging you (dogs sadly don't really care for the way we hug as humans. I know, the news sucks).
Go for a walk together. New experiences and sniffing places are a must for a dog's mental health and well-being. For those of us who live in Virginia Beach, dog walks on the beach or boardwalk are a fantastic way for your dog to explore what to them is a completely different world than what they're used to at home. You can also take them to Mount Trashmore or go hiking in First Landing, both local favorites of Hampton Roads. If you're pressed for time and can't walk Fido yourself, you might consider hiring a dog walker.
Have training sessions together. Focusing on one on one dog training with your bud will establish a mutual trusting bond. I highly recommend Victoria Stilwell's site positively.com for science-based positive training methods. Another great tool is a clicker for clicker training.
Give them good quality food & treats. In fact, you can probably win over their love forever just by doing this one thing ;) Dog Food Advisor is a great resource to help you make an informed decision when buying pet food. We only have so many years with our beloved furbabies. Make them count and feed your pet the good stuff if you have the means.
Spend time engaging their mind- try puzzle toys. My pups enjoy puzzle balls that they can push around with their paws and nose. They have to work at it, but eventually they figure out how to get the treat out. There are other maze type toys you can buy. Just search for "interactive dog toys" to get a few ideas.
Now go on, show your dog how much you care!