You might read the title of this piece, glance down at Fido luxuriating in his posh bed surrounded by toys, and wonder how else you could spoil your dog.
Dogs have been evolving alongside humans for at least 10,000 years, which means they’ve grown heavily dependent on us. Unlike you, Rover can’t hop in the car and go buy a new handbag, or decide he’s bored and head off to the gym. It’s up to you to keep your dog entertained and just a bit spoiled. Don’t worry; unlike toddlers, dogs won’t throw temper tantrums just because of a little spoiling. Indeed, a dog who gets plenty of attention is a dog who will behave himself.
Give Him a Challenging Dog Treat
Dogs are highly intelligent, and most breeds love a challenge. Blend a little enrichment with delicious treats and you’ve got an instant winner. Try giving your dog a Jolly Pets Teaser Ball or Kong stuffed with treats or peanut butter. He’ll love attempting to fish out the food, and will wear himself out in the process.
Offer a Massage
Dogs get achy muscles and joints just like people, so don’t just offer Rover a few scratches. Let him sit in front of you as you massage him all over. Not only is this relaxing for him; research suggests that even just a few minutes spent petting a dog can alleviate stress while combating depression and other mental health woes.
Go for a Ride
If your dog perks up every time he gets into the car to go to the vet, it’s time to treat him to a car ride that doesn’t end with a shot. Roll down the windows on a beautiful day, and turn on some of your favorite tunes. You’ll both come home from your ride rested and just a bit closer to one another.
Walking your dog is the single best thing you can do for her emotional health. Dogs spend endless hours of each day walking and running in the wild, so long walks can help reduce stress and make your dog feel closer to you. If you want to spoil her, allow your dog to set the pace of the walk by stopping when she wants to smell something and following her when she wants to turn the corner or go a different direction.
Let Your Dog Dig
Digging is a natural dog behavior that feels great, but no dog likes getting yelled at after digging up mom’s plants. Let your dog enjoy some digging by getting her a sandbox, then hiding some treats in the bottom. She gets to dig, and you get to keep your yard intact—a win for both of you.
Give Fido the Laundry
Don’t get your hopes up; your dog can’t do your laundry. But if you’re sick of him stealing your socks and underwear, consider his motivation. Dogs steal these things because they smell like the humans they love, and carrying old clothes around can be a big source of comfort—especially for anxious dogs. When you’re done with old clothes, don’t throw them away. Give them to your dog instead. You’ll save money on toys and won’t have to spend endless hours pleading with Fido to please drop your boxers.
Wrestle With Your Dog
Dogs love a rousing wrestling game, whether it’s tug of war or chasing each other around the yard. Of course, if your dog has a history of aggression you’ll need to forgo these activities. If Rover loves roughhousing, though, an occasional rousing play session can help him burn off anxiety while preventing aggressive behavior.