It's easy to think there are 3 ingredients to having a Good Happy dog. I think new owners and dog lovers alike often believe that...
Love + Obedience + Socialization = Good Happy Dog
But if life was so simple it wouldn't be nearly so interesting!
A complete view of the Good Happy Dog formula would include these elements (and more)...
- Development from gestation to adulthood
- Health care
- Age at neutering (if neutered at all)
- Parasites, disease and injury
- Relevant and APPROPRIATE socialization
- Human/dog relationship (requires a whole other blog post or several)
- Daytime routine
- Level of dog's control over its life
- Presence and quality of joy/fear/anxiety/excited/anger/etc triggering events
- Physical fitness
- Mental stimulation
- Cooperation and communication (training)
- Owner expectations
- Dog expectations
Perhaps having a Good Happy Dog is now sounding more complicated than you imagined! And if you're the proud companion of a Good Happy Dog, CONGRATULATIONS! Either by fluke or your design a number of these elements have come together for your furry friend. If you're at your wits end with your stress-head, nervous or angry dog and worried that you've "done something wrong" put your mind at rest- you've probably done the best you could with your current skills and knowledge. Loved, obedient and socialized dogs have difficulties, it doesn't mean yours is neglected, abused or has something wrong. But it is a sign that life isn't as happy as it could be. Seek professional help to resolve challenging areas of your dog's life. With the right advice tailored to your particular family there's every chance yours can be a Good Happy Dog too.
In the coming weeks I'm going to create a brief IDEALISTIC guide to having a Good Happy Dog. Come back next Friday for Step1: Puppy Planning. There's not a single formula for keeping a dog happy, healthy and a joy to live with, but there are ways to increase your chances.
I hope you've enjoyed this post and please let me know in the blog comments what you liked best. Do you have any tips for helping dogs be Good Happy Dogs?
Happy training. Love Lucy x