Man's best friend
It's no surprise that dogs can be one of the happiest creatures we ever encounter. They are always excited to see you, always filled with energy, and always anxious to go out with you wherever you go. Dogs have proven to be the most loyal pet, as we can see from hundreds of YouTube videos of dogs exciting to see their masters when returning from their deployments or from a long vacation. We as their owners want to take care of them and please them, and here's a list of ways we can do that as their owners.
1. Just exist
I made an article earlier this month on pleasing your cat and how difficult it can be, so it's only natural that I make one for dog owners now. The first way that you can keep your dog happy is just by existing. Just being there makes them happy because they want to be in your company. We can see time and time again how they just want companionship and you just being there is enough to fire every neuron in their entire brain and get them excited. Dogs love you and you should show them love back by being there for them. It's a humorous play on this idea of being around as it's not going to be enough just with this alone, but it's a great first step.
2. Show them affection
Dogs love attention! While point number one holds true, showing them affection by petting them or playing with them will go a long way. Don't let a dog constantly beg you for your attention, always bringing over toys and sitting by you. Pet them and show them love because this goes a long way in their minds. When you take the time to enjoy their company then they pick up on those emotions and you will see their tails wag and get so excited. Playing is a great thing because it's also fun for you! When was the last time you found it a drag to throw the Frisbee passed your dog and watch him run full force to grab it? The answer should be never because it's entertaining and fun! Showing a dog affection will quickly lead to a long and healthy relationship between the two of you and will leave you satisfied as well as them.
3. Exercise them
While this can sort of meld in with point 2, it goes without saying that exercising your dog will cause them extreme happiness. This is because a dog that is shut in all the time and never gets to run around will be a sad dog. Get a leash and get in the car and hit up a dog park! Run around with them or get something to throw so they can play with it and fetch it for you. Nothing quite satisfies your own soul by seeing your beloved pet chasing something to proudly bring it back to you. Let them get exercise and run around and it will show in their personality. There are numerous reports out there that show that housebound dogs who never get out get destructive. This is not their fault because they want to exercise and just make your house the place to do it if you don't get them out. Show them you love them by getting out there and running with them, it's good exercise even for you!
4. Give them a reward
Dogs are trained very well compared to other animals, so when you are training them or teaching them good things show them they are doing well by rewarding them. Dogs sense that if they do the things you are teaching them it will end with them getting their favorite dog treat or toy and they want it really badly. They register in their minds that dog treats are great and will gather evidence from your behavior that you only give those lovely treats when they do good things, thus good behavior is born and it benefits both you and your dog. It also is satisfying to see your dog get excited to get their favorite treat and can pick you up even if you are having a down day. Treat them and they will treat you with good behavior and more love than you could ever handle.
5. Let your dog hang out with you
There are a lot of people who love their dogs and treat them well, but if the dog jumps up to sit with them while they're watching TV or anything like this then they push them away. Dogs are just like humans in that they love time spent closely with those they love. How would you feel if you brushed up against your loved ones and they pushed you away? It would hurt, and dogs are similar in nature. While good behavior should be taught to not jump on couches, the door should still be open for them to join you if you are sitting with them. I love how dogs with great owners will never jump on furniture, but as soon as the owner sits down they jump up with no problem because they know they are welcomed and won't be rejected. Let your dog spend time with you and they will be happy just like you. They aren't feeling a desire to take away your space and annoy you, they just enjoy your company and want to be close. Let them have time with you each day and this will multiply back to you a hundred fold.
Patterns to notice
There are easy patterns to recognize here in that if you treat your dog with respect and love you will get that back. Pleasing your dog is easy because they aren't demanding like cats in my humorous article linked earlier, so taking this approach of spending time with them and treated them well will only give you more satisfaction and cause them to be extremely happy. Dogs aren't hard to please, and these approaches are likely what you are already doing with them but it helps to read these reminders and put ourselves in their shoes and see what they are thinking. Treat them like a human with love and they will reciprocate that love back to you many times over. They are loyal creatures and want to please you just as much as you want to please them.