Of course our dogs love us - they are social creatures who readily form bonds with humans. But your dog wants you to know that you can actively enhance his or her life with these four easy tips.
Take me to a fun, positive dog class
Anyone who has taken an obedience class from a dog trainer who uses treats and toys (and avoids corrections and other intimidating techniques) can tell you how much their dog loves class. They seem to know it's Dog Class Day hours in advance, and are slavering to get into the building. We have had dogs who refuse to leave the room when class is done - they want to be trained more!
Make me work for my supper
It seems counter-intuitive to consider that dogs love working for their meals - isn't it nicer to give them free food in a bowl? Dogs are generally under-stimulated (read: booooored by life) though, so putting their canine brains to the task of eviscerating a stuffed and frozen dog bone, or pawing their way through a puzzle toy, is as satisfying to them as a good book, a great movie, or a trek through Skyrim is to us.
Exercise my nose with walks
Although leash walks do not fulfill most dogs' need for physical exercise, they present a wonderful smorgasbord of good smells (to say nothing of the interesting people, other dogs, cawing birds, and scampering critters). Sniffing new scents tires out a dog's brain, which means more sleepy-time at home. As a lovely side-effect, using their wondrous noses helps dogs' brains to stay healthy as they age.
Keep me safe from toothy temptation while delivering the chew toys
Dogs like to chew. Their tastes differ - some love teak table legs, others enjoy sinking their teeth, quite literally, into a good book, still others prefer laundry (clean ...or otherwise). Dogs need to be given legal chewing outlets, and your local pet store will have a bounty of chewies for your dog to audition. Before they have developed a solid history of chewing solely legal items, they need to be kept safe from their illegal chew temptations: a dog-proof room or crate.
Finally, your dog wants you to make it easy on yourself. You have enough on your plate. Slip in a longer walk on days you don't work late. Make a few stuffed dog bones at once and freeze them, to dole them out effortlessly during your busy work week. Pick a dog class where kids are welcome, so they learn the ins and outs of changing behaviour too, without you needing a sitter.
These tricks of the trade should make your shared life easier and more peaceful by tiring out your dog's brain. Enjoy!