How happy is your dog? Do you know what makes her happy?
I just finished making some toast when I looked over to see my little dog Timber looking up at me ever hopeful for a tiny piece of toast. Of course I gave her a morsel because that’s what we do. She wasn’t begging, in fact, she was laying on her bed when I noticed those little blueberry eyes looking at me. What came over me was an overwhelming sense of wonder about her life with me.
I picked her up, held her near, gazing into each other’s eyes I asked her if she was a happy dog. The words just came out of my mouth. My dogs are a huge part of my life, obviously and they are the biggest consideration of how I live my life. I meet their needs yet if I were to ask if they were truly happy I’d have to ask myself what makes each of them happy because they are different for each.
So, what does Timber love?
She loves to play. Play tug, fetch, chase, lie in my lap, go wherever I go, meet new dogs, play with other dogs, cuddle under the covers, share morsels of my meals, wait for food to drop while I’m cooking, bark when she’s super excited, jump like a jumping bean when I get the leash out then get on her trunk waiting for me to put it on and go on that walk, sniff, sniff, sniff her way to the place to sniff, look and smell inside drainage pipes for the last critter that hid there, be my copilot in the car, oh and did I mention play?
Am I doing all these things every day? No, and probably why this thought washed over me like a wave of wonder and a bit of guilt. I’ve been distracted by life in the last month, winter has set in, big changes in my personal world and a senior dog who needs a whole new level of attention which I’m honored to do for him and this means shorter hikes which is hard on Timber and I. We love hiking! So, when I say that I’m not meeting Timber’s needs this is not entirely true but I’m a perfectionist (hate to admit but very true) and if I’m not doing all these things for her every day, I feel like a failure.
We do these things every day; we walk, go to the barn and hike, we play tug, fetch and chase but in her world the hikes would be longer, fetch would be 10 times a day instead of 3 and chase would happen every other minute as she looks at me while I’m doing an online training session, answering emails, writing blogs, etc. Our lives change and we all need to adapt without feeling guilty and then make the necessary adjustments making sure they are all happy including ourselves.
If you were to ask your dog what makes her happy, what would she say and are you meeting her needs? How can you adjust so that overwhelm doesn’t set it and nothing happens.
The sun is out after many days of rain. We’re heading out to the barn, hike first and then it’s horsey time. YOU? What will you do to make your dog happy?