How To Have a Happy Dog
I totally agree with you that the thought of bringing home a dog into your life can be both exciting and daunting at the same time.
As a previous non dog lover, I honestly had no idea what I was supposed to do to make my dog a happy dog and to show him how much I loved him.
All I knew was that going I was going to do everything that I could to make sure that my dog was loved and felt safe and let me tell you, it does not take much.
Happy Dog = Happy Life
It really is not hard to make your dog a happy dog. Honestly, at the end of the day, Amos just wants to have us around, to feel loved, to feel safe and to never have to worry again about anything.
I hate the thought of what his previous life was like. Being extremely skinny when we first adopted Amos, I know that food was definitely scarce and that he would have had to fight for what he wanted. Being such a friendly loving dog, I imagine that he often missed out. Amos brings me so much joy on a day to day basis and I just adore seeing him out and about, a happy dog living his life just as he was meant to.
And that is because of me and my husband and the love that we have for him.
Our perfect dog buddy.
A Dog Life
I am sure you see people out all the time with their dogs. Because I know that I did. They always looked so happy!!!
But Have you ever wondered exactly what a day in the life of a dog owner looks like ?
Owning a dog definitely requires commitment from yourself and family members and you have got to compromise.
Commitment - You accepted a responsibility when you decided to get a dog or adopt a dog and therefore you need to make sure that you do everything that you can to give that dog the life that it deserves and to be a happy dog.
Compromise - sometimes you may not want to get up and go out for that morning walk… but guess what.. who cares! You get up and you go because that is what you do as a dog owner. And don't you feel better for going!
Owning a dog really makes you look at what you do on a day to day basis. One of the things that we love most about Amos is that we get out and about a lot more than we ever used to. For example, if you follow us on Instagram you will see that we are our local creek about 2-3 times a week and guess what? We would never have found that creek and this amazing spot without Amos. I find it such a peaceful and beautiful spot to start my day and Amos absolutely loves it. All you need to do is say “Swim swim” and you won’t believe how fast his tail wags!! Yes, we often say it on purpose!! Amos really has prompted us to get out and about, explore more and try new things. Especially with my health as it is, spending more time outdoors has really made a significant difference in my life. Thank you Amos from the bottom of my heart.
We have come a long way since Amos’s day of adoption and back then I kind of had an idea about what exercise Amos was going to require but along that way I figured out I actually had no idea.
Amos is my top priority and everyday I need to make sure that he gets everything that he need to be a healthy happy dog living the life of his dreams.
Because remember, being a rescue dog, Amos didn’t have the greatest first 1.5 years of his life so everything that I do is making up for it. It is not that I go to extra effort at all, I would be the same if Amos’s was not a rescue dog I just do what I believe every dog needs to be happy and content.
So lets take a step into the life of Amos Pearce and see just how he spends his day.
HAPPY DOG DAYS
A typical DOG DAY for Amos Pearce
Which really is a pretty good day if you ask me. Due to my health situation, I am fortunate enough to be able to spend lots of time with Amos during the week. And actually, Amos is the type of dog that would not be able to handle a household with 9-5pm workers. Why? Because he craves human contact and even on the 2 days that I work long days the difference is obvious. He is more anxious we are going to leave him, he is more destructive and in general a crazier dog. Amos has helped improved my health dramatically so the more time I spend with him the better I feel and the more time he spends with me the more relaxed and calm he feels and he feels part of the family.
GOOD MORNING PUPPY
From approximately 7am-11am is what we call PARTY TIME
So we go outside and commence our morning activities. Getting up and getting your dog exercised first thing in the morning is so important for their health and also if you want to avoid any destructive behaviours during the day. Our morning activities usually involve one or more of the following :
- Fetch with friends
- A trip to the creek
- A trip to the beach
- Garden fetch
- Loose lead walking training
- Hose play
- Visit to Chew Chomp and Chill
After about 30-60mins of play time, it’s usually breakfast time so Amos eats his dog food outside in the garden whilst I do my morning journal.
After breakfast we would typical either :
- Relax and chill out outside for some calm training - now calm training isn’t Amos’s strong point and he has a lot of trouble going from play time to chill time. So we actually do a lot of shaping behaviours around this and reward any time Amos lays down and is calm.
- Play tug
Sometimes a quick game of tug is what Amos needs to calm down. We have 5 dog tug toys ready to go!! You never know how many you will need to play with at once.
- Uses his enrichment toys
We will cover this in more detail in a later post but I do a lot of mental stimulation and enrichment for Amos. This forces him to use his brain and think for himself and is actually another way of calming Amos down. It also helps prevent destructive behaviours. I also find that any sort of mental stimulation will tire Amos much more than a physical training session.
Amos is really good at telling us when he has had enough and when he is done he will walk over to the house. He will stop, turn and look at you as if to say “Mum, we are done here". Then he goes inside to sleep. He often doesn’t like it if you stay outside whilst he goes inside. He likes to know you are there and not going to leave him. So in I go.
MIDDAY DOG ACTIVITY
11am-3pm is sleeping time and when I get most of my work done.
During this time, Amos often likes to go outside for a sunbathe or use the sprinkler in summer to stay cool but most of the time he’s pretty chilled. This took us a long time when we first got Amos to help him chill out and even now he sometimes still needs some reminding to chill out. When this happens we do calm training to help him. Sometimes he just needs you to lay down next to him and give him a cuddle and remind him that you are there and everything in life will be ok. He really is a big softy!
Being the manager of Amos’s social media accounts I use this time to organise myself and also to focus on my health and my work commitments. I have to be very careful of overdoing things so I always make sure that I get some rest at this time too so that I can be at my best for Amos. Amos also feeds off me so if I am running around doing stuff he also finds it challenging so often I sit and relax first before doing things.
I often go out and get things done during this time as I know he is asleep and safe and even if I was home he would be sleeping!
But being the type of dog that Amos is requires stimulation twice a day. So picture this you are sitting there on the couch and the clock strikes 3pm….. and BAM Amos is up ready to party. He appears out of nowhere and he is like clockwork. Every day around 3 pm its time to go out. And guess what friends, if you don’t go out things start to happen. Pillows get taken, shoes get taken, socks get chewed, the couch gets chewed, his bed gets chewed. You can see where I am going. Amos once dragged me off the couch ! Yes I was testing to see how far he would pull the blanket that I was sitting on.. yes he pulled it right off!!!
But I do need to point out that I do not go out because Amos has demanded it. I make sure I settle him and calm him and then we go out when I am ready and on my terms So we head outside from 3pm - approx 6pm depending on the weather and how much Amos needs.
DOG DAY AFTERNOON ACTIVITY
Our more intense exercise sessions are always in the morning so I adapt the afternoon sessions depending on how Amos is feeling and what will be happening the next day too.
Afternoon activities usually include one or more of the following :
- Loose Lead Walking training
- Garden fetch
- Frisbee training
- Tricks training
- Nose work
- Enrichment toys
- Hose play or sprinklers
- Car training
Amos usually gets dinner around 5:30pm depending on what we have done that afternoon. He is so funny because pretty much as soon as he has eaten its indoor time. He finishes his meal looks at me and off he trots inside. The only difference compared to the morning is that he usually doesn't care whether we have come in or not he just goes. We often come inside to check on him and Amos is passed out asleep on our bed. Tough gig...
At about 6:30/7pm Amos drags himself off our bed and onto his ‘big boy chair’ which he hops up in and watches me as I prepare dinner. It’s actually kind of cute. Half way through he falls asleep however as soon as you take the butter packet out of the fridge miraculously he is right by your side looking up at you with his cute little eyes saying ‘yes mum, I do need butter’.
After dinner, and once Amos realises that no he is not having what we are having, he sleeps either on his ‘big boy chair’, in between us on the couch or on his Henry Hottie, but that is the 3rd option! Yes I know, why did I spend the cash to get him the best bed I possibly could! I have actually lay on it myself and it is damn comfy. Least i have a second bed option!
He goes out for an evening wizzy wizz (aka wee) around 9pm and then he is out for the night not to be heard from until it starts all over again tomorrow.
HOW TO KEEP MY DOG HAPPY DURING WORK
I can see you reading this thinking yeah that is all well and good but I have to work Monday - Friday 9-5pm. So, my friends, you adapt.
On the days that I work, my husband and I work together as a team. We still make sure that Amos is exercised before work and after work. It just means us getting up earlier - commitment and compromise as I mentioned right at the beginning. I will detail in another post exactly what I leave for Amos when I am out at work because I am huge on dog enrichment and getting Amos to use his brain.
OUTDOOR DOG ACTIVITIES
Going forwards, there are a few things that I would love to add into Amos’s daily and week routine :
- More tricks training in particular - dance, orbit, shy,
- Cafe training
- Pack walks
- Canine disc
A HAPPY DOG
So there you have it, a day in the life of Amos and like I said at the start, it sure is a good day right! No wonder he is such a Happy Dog. I myself would love to lead his life.
I would also like to point out here for all the new dog owners reading this, that it has taken a long time to get Amos into this routine and we sure have had our fun and games. This is exactly what this blog is about, sharing my journey. So I will be sharing Amos’s mischief throughout my blogs because I could write a thousand blog posts on that! Blood, sweat and tears have gone into this fine-tuned routine.
So thank you so much for reading and I really hope you enjoyed living the life of Amos for a day!
I recommend reading my first blog post “Mum - The Dog Whisperer” because it will give you an insight into just how special Amos is to me. If you don’t know me, you will be so surprised to learn that I used to dislike dogs and was actually scared of them.
I am sure you also have a friend or two that would love to read about a day in the life of a happy dog so please share this on social media or pin to your dog vision board on Pinterest
See you next time!
❤ Mel and Amos x