How to have a happy dog
I have a heart dog!
A heart dog is one who comes along and fills your heart with so much love that they completely change your life. Heart dogs bring you so much joy and help keep you happy. And so, if you have a heart dog, it’s only fair that you do the same for them. This means more than how to train your dog. It means learning what your dog needs, how they talk to you, what and how to feed them, how to keep them calm, happy and fulfilled and how to be the best person you can be for them.
But learning all of this takes a lot of time, energy and commitment. And there is so much conflicting and downright nonsense advice out there. It’s overwhelming. That’s why I created the heart dog program: it’s a resource to help dog owners like you know exactly how to have the happiest dog they can.
Because the most important thing is to understand a dogs basic needs, I make this part of the program absolutely free. To survive, your dog needs to feel safe, to be able to look after their grooming and toileting needs and to have enough sleep. And to thrive your dog also needs age and breed appropriate exercise, enrichment and play. Sometimes you will see a big change in your dog's behaviour for the better when you simply change how you are meeting these basic needs.
Once their basic needs are met, to be happy dogs need to be understood. And there is a LOT of misunderstanding about what dogs are communicating to us. For example, many people think that a wagging tail means a dog is happy. This is not always true. Speed, direction, movement and position of a dogs tail all communicate different emotions, and intentions. And it’s not just a dogs tail that talks. Dogs also communicate with their ears, body positions and they have universal signals, like the play bow, to tell us how they feel, what they are thinking and what they want. Learning to understand what dogs are communicating with us is like learning a new language. Only harder. Because dogs have different sensory abilities, motivations and needs than us. In the Heart Dog program, you will learn how to observe, interpret, and understand your dogs body language, resulting in a bond with your dog that borders on telepathy.
Dogs use their whole bodies to communicate with us and each other
The next thing to consider in how to have the happiest dog you can is what you feed your dog and how you feed them. Feeding dry, processed biscuits in a bowl is pretty standard practice for many owners. Even some vets recommend this. But if you want to have a dog that looks, feels, and acts their best self, then knowing what and how to feed your dog is essential. Because what you put in is what you get out. But, it can be really difficult to navigate the world of dog food. There are so many different brands, diets and terminology. And lots of money is spent on marketing very poor quality food.
Research into the oldest dogs can tell us a lot and it is clear from the research that 3 main things help dogs live healthier and for longer. Like us, those 3 things are calorie restrictions, exercise and the addition of fresh, unprocessed food to the diet.
How we feed our dogs is important too. Domestic dogs are scavengers. This natural behaviour is what lead them into our lives in the first place as they scavenged from human leftovers. Many village dogs still lead this ancestral life. So getting our dogs to work for their food, rather than feeding from a bowl goes a long way to creating a satisfied dog. This helps keep the germs in the gut happy, stable and healthy and is fundamental to having a motivated, happy and healthy dog.
Another thing that is massively important is teaching your dog how to be calm. Relaxation and calm are the foundation for everything else you do. It is really beneficial for you to learn how help your dog be relaxed and calm at home and, later, out on walks. You are aiming to reduce their overall level of arousal so they can think more clearly. There is a lot of misinformation on tv about what constitutes a calm dog.
Calm is not submissive. Submissive responses have an underlying emotion of fear and you cant be calm and frightened at the same time. So don’t be deluded by the outdated dominance theory of dog behaviour. Calm is about relaxation. It is about your dog feeling peaceful even though there are thing going on around them.
Calmness is so important to good mental health
To feel calm dogs first of all need to feel safe. So it is important to help them overcome any fears that they may have and that they can settle at home.
Some activities that we do with our dogs will make it difficult for dogs to feel calm. Playing fetch too much, especially with a ball launcher, will not help your dog feel calm. Other activities, like getting your dog to find things by smell, are much better as they mentally tire your dog out and help them feel calm and relaxed at the end of the day.
Having a dog that knows how to be calm means that you will have a more peaceful home-life and a happier dog.
The next component of the Heart Dog program is called happy handling. It is really important to get your dog used to being touched in strange ways, in different places, and get used to having strange objects touch or do things to them. Your dog may have sensitive areas where they don’t like being touched. They might dislike or even hate the vets and groomers. Some dogs become aggressive in these circumstances, others struggle and, saddest of all some become completely shut down as they are frozen in fear. Sometimes we will need to give them eye or ear drops, or lift them up, or do other potentially unpleasant things to them. You can train your dog to accept this, and it is called cooperative care.
The final component of the Heart Dog program is you. Do you know how to be a good person for your dog? Being a good human for your dog involves having the right mindset, having an understanding and control of your emotions and being able to clearly communicate with them.
Before I got my Heart Dog, I was really shy, nervous and overly sensitive to criticism. I felt ill at the thought of speaking in public and would need to be physically forced to get in front of the camera. Then, when I got my Heart Dog, my main goal in life became helping him to become the happiest dog he could be. I found that this starts with who I am, how I behave, and how I feel. The lessons found here will improve the relationship you have with your dog enormously. And what’s more, you will also come away from it with a deeper understanding of yourself which will help you progress in every other area of your life.
Happy dogs is what it's all about
The Heart Dog program is for anyone who loves their dog. There are almost 100 videos that make up the program. They are divided into the 6 modules called Needs and Enrichments, Dog Communication, Food and Feeding, Creating Calmness, Happy Handling and How to Human. And each lesson has their very own challenge for you to complete and improve the life of your dog. Because if you have a heart dog, you really do want them to be the happiest dog you can.
You can join Heart Dog by clicking the link below
You can try the first module for free here: