How To Make My Dog Healthy, Happy, and Energetic

At our Dog Training Program in Northern Virginia, many people ask “How can I have a healthy, happy, and energetic dog?”

Everyone who’s ever owned a dog, knows that special feeling you get when they welcome you home after a long day. They share their unconditional love with you whether you’ve been gone for five minutes or five days. Unlike humans, they are always there to listen to you and rarely complain. So how do you keep your pet happy and healthy? You nurture their success, and our at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we help owners do just that.

In Northern Virginia sits a building that is home to the best dog training facility in the continental United States. At Off-Leash K9 Training, LLC, we don’t just train your dog, we train your dog and you for continued success.  We help you nurture success in your dog that will literally last a lifetime. Here’s a short list of significant ways you can start that nurturing process on your own to ensure your dog a long, happy, and confident life.

Proper Diet: Most people think that dog food is dog food. You can buy the wet, canned kind or the dry bagged kind because it doesn’t really matter. They’d be wrong. A dog’s diet is as important to their behavior as consequences for their actions. A dog has to eat the proper amount of food and nutrients to be both healthy and happy.

Now it’s easy to get caught up in a debate about everyone’s favorite brand of dog food, however each dog is different and therefore the argument is mute. As long as your dog has a healthy coat, and underlying skin, they are active and playful, and get a passing grade at the vet’s office, most owners can stick with their favorite brand.  Look at your dog’s diet like a diet for a person, every person is different!  Some people eat junk food all day and still stay very skinny, some people eat anything bad for them and they gain weight.  So, monitor your specific dog and adjust his or her eating habits and diet.

Exercise:  I tell our clients on a daily basis, “A bored dog is a destructive dog.”  Exercise is imperative to keep your dog physically stimulated, at a proper weight, proper health, and to keep them out of trouble.  As dogs age, their activity level tends to slow down. They no longer jump around constantly like puppies do. And most people don’t think twice about seeing their dog be less active. They chalk it up to old age, and don’t usually give it a second thought. However, if you want your dog to continue to live a happy and fulfilled life, exercise has to be on the “proverbial” menu. Old dogs need exercise on a daily basis just like their younger counterparts. So schedule time every day to take your dog out and do some playtime in the back yard.

If your dog is overweight, or suffers from any other illnesses, you’ll want to discuss with your veterinarian about ways to improve your dogs health.  At Off-Leash K9 Training in Northern Virginia, we can answer any questions you may have about how to increase activity in your pet, ways to actively physically stimulate them, and ways to improve not only your dog’s overall health, but his relationships within the family as well.

Affection:  Clearly plenty of praise, love, attention, and affection are all vital in order to have a happy dog.  Again, dogs are just like people, they need love, attention, and affection to be happy/productive members of society.  So, your dog should be getting plenty of attention and praise from you on a daily basis.

Pack Leadership:  It’s important for dogs to know their place in the back, dogs are much more happy and secure when you are clearly defined as the leader of the pack.  See my blog post on How To Be the Pack Leader.

Mental Stimulation:  This is one of the most underrated things that many people (and trainers) do not consider.  Keep your dog mentally stimulated as well as physically stimulated as mentioned above.   For example, at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we also do nose detection/nose work training.  This is one of the best mentally stimulating things you can do with your pet.  They are searching around, processing literally thousands of odors, and thinking non-stop.  If you are not able to attend nose work sessions, look for other fun games and activities for your dog to do.  As I say, “If you do not give your dog a job, they will become self-employed.  A self-employed dog will always cost the owner money.”

Obedience Training:  Obedience training, discipline, and structure in dogs are all just as important and fundamental as it is in people.   If your dog is having obedience issues, you should contact a dog trainer in your area, such as our program in Northern Virginia.

Confidence:  Confidence in dogs is very important and yet very underrated.  This is something that the vast majority of trainers do not even cover or discuss.  Confidence is very important in order to have a happy dog!  See the blog I wrote on noise desensitization and how to build confidence in my dog.

If you stay on top of all these fundamental principles, I can ensure you and your dog a very long, healthy, happy, and confident life.

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