Covid has had me shifting priorities, blog posts are not the same today as they were a year ago. With no travel, a lack of dressing up my thoughts have turned to the four legged friends in my life. Focusing on Wolfie and Lou has created a new joy in my writing. Dogs, like people, go through various moods throughout the day. Sometimes they are energetic and happy, and other times they feel sad and low. It’s all part of the rhythm of life. Need to know how to lift your dog’s spirits?
Many times, your dog will appear under the weather if they feel sick. So before reading the rest of this post, it might be worth getting them a full health checkup at the vet. If there are no readily-identifiable problems with their health, please read on.
Give Them A Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit, but they also require leadership. Left to their own devices, their lives will feel directionless and chaotic – and that’s what can produce a depressed mood.
As their owner (AKA pack leader), you can change this dynamic. By taking them for walks at a set time every day and ensuring that they eat at regular intervals, you can change their experience completely. Suddenly, they know what’s coming, and they no longer feel as anxious.
Sometimes, just taking them for a walk in the morning and developing a nighttime routine can be enough to lift their spirits. Try to keep their body clocks in sync with the natural day-night cycle as this is how they would live naturally in the world.
Start Training Them
If you visit sites like www.puppytrainedright.com, you’ll learn about the importance of training. It’s not just about getting your dog to do what you want them to do (although that’s part of it). It’s also about helping the dog feel like a valuable member of the community.
At root, dogs are pack animals. And while they enjoy their space, they also want leadership. They need to know who the alpha individual is. If they don’t, they can feel a little lost – and that can upset them and create anxiety. That’s why training can be so beneficial for lifting their mood. It lets them understand their place in the world and who they should follow. Plus, they get delicious treats as well.
Give Them More Exercise
Most small breeds of dogs need about an hour of exercise per day. Larger types, such as Labradors, need upwards of two hours per day to be at their best.
Thus, if your pooch hasn’t been getting enough exercise, that could go a long way to explaining their low mood. Dogs need to be on their feet all the time. They hate the sedentary lifestyle. It’s just not in their nature.
If you have a working dog and they seem low, a lack of exercise could be the issue according to an recent article in NPR that caught my attention. . Try weaving a walk into your daily routine and keep them occupied. Make sure that they’re panting by the end of each outing to release feel-good hormones into their bodies and brains.
Reinforce Positive Behavior
Dogs are strange creatures. They will often appear to behave badly, but none of what they do is coming from a place of malice. In most cases, dogs just need you to understand them.
Feeding pups and young dogs treats to comfort them can be tempting. Unfortunately, it can also serve to reinforce their negative moods. Think about it: if you give your dog a sweet treat every time they feel down, then they are likely to feel that way more often.
A better approach is to look for opportunities to reinforce the kinds of behaviours that you would like your dog to display. So if you notice them doing something positive, then step in with a treat to tell them that you want to see more of that behaviour.
Interestingly, when dogs behave more happily, they seem to become happier in themselves. So it’s not just fakery – it actually has a real effect on their bodies and mind.
Introduce Them To Other Animals
When dogs are socialising, they don’t have time to feel depressed or anxious. All they want to do is get to know the other animals and interact with them. That’s why so many pet owners let their animals sniff around other pets. Just as it is good for people to be around others, it is also great for pets too.
Dogs will usually interact with each other spontaneously, without any intervention required from you. After all, most pups are sociable beings who do not like to be by themselves.
However, if they seem shy or nervous, you can break the ice by throwing a toy into the middle of a group of animals and encourage them to play with it.
Remember, a lot of dogs get depressed when they feel lonely. It’s akin to a wolf being kicked out of the pack and unable to get support from the rest of the troop. It’s not a nice feeling, and also seems to lead to physical changes in the dog’s body.
Spend More Time With Your Dog
It turns out that dogs don’t really mind whether you have two legs or four – so long as you’re there for them. In many cases, the simplest solution to dog sadness is just to spend more time with your dog. A bit of interaction can go a long way.
When you spend time with your dog, try to actively play with them. A higher level of interaction will take the mind of their negative mood and encourage them to adopt a more positive outlook.
Change Your Own State Of Mind
You might not think it, but your dog is a highly empathetic creature. Research shows that pups can tell when their owners are feeling a little off. Thus, changing your mood can actually help elevate theirs. It’s infectious and makes a massive difference in how both you and they feel.
If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, try going for a walk with your dog out in nature or the park. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel just by moving your body and escaping the pressures of home life. When you get back, both you and your pooch will feel refreshed.
So, which of these strategies are you going to use to lift your dog’s spirits?