Breeds and Intelligence
Believe it or not but different breeds have different needs that should be met in order for the dog to be happy. Typically the smarter breeds have a much higher need for mental stimulation, and when not presented with such, become bored, destructive, depressed, and so forth. Indeed certain breeds are fairly easy to keep happy, while others require a lot more work.
Some examples of less intelligent, easy to please dogs, are Pugs, Shih Tzus, and so forth, basically the dogs that are used as lap dogs. Some examples of extremely intelligent dogs are Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, and so forth, basically the dogs that were bred to work.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule but generally speaking if a dog is doing what it was bred to do it will be happiest. In some cases substitute jobs work equally well, a Border Collie would be thrilled to herd sheep, but just as happy to herd anything else (cats, chickens, balls), or to get involved with fun things like agility. A Shih Tzu is happy just being near you.
Some dogs require more physical activity, a good example would be a Husky. Greyhounds might surprise you, as they are actually couch potatoes, while a short run is good, they don’t need to burn off tons of energy like a Husky does.
For mutts we would look at the dogs aptitude, does it act like it wants to herd, retrieve, lounge? Sometimes you can get a clue by looking at the dog and guessing its breeds.
How do you Know if your Dog is Happy?
A happy dog wags its tail, but more so than this.. a happy dog runs and plays, it shows joy in everything it does. A happy dog is not destructive in the yard (a sign of mental frustration). A happy dog is not destructive in the home (boredom). A happy dog is not scared of everything that moves (stress, fear), nor is it overly submissive. A happy dog does not show signs of food aggression, nor is it fearful of other people and other dogs.
How to Make your Dog Happy
Dogs are pack animals they thrive on being with their pack – YOU. Dogs who are left alone for long periods of time are more likely to be “unhappy”, bored, and destructive. Smart, active, dogs can attend doggy daycare, or you can even come home at lunch. Make sure you give your dog appropriate mental simulation in the morning before work, or school, and later at night according to the breeds need for mental activity.
Proper feeding and health are also things an owner should meet to ensure their dog is happy. Even simple things like spaying or neutering will improve a dogs attitude, we cannot assume they all want to be parents, many dogs do not enjoy this, and if not given the knowledge of it, its not something they miss. Spaying (females) or neutering (males) has health benefits such as removing some cancer risks, but also lowers aggression, and over all makes a happier, less frustrated, dog.
Veterinary attention is also important to ensure our dogs happiness. A dog with a sore tooth is not going to be focusing on anything other than the pain in its mouth. A dog with fleas will be itchy, with worms will be sickly.
Taking our dog to basic obedience, and socialization classes, is very helpful to making it happy. It learns stuff and we all feel better about ourselves when we learn stuff. These classes also help dogs learn about other dogs, and this in turn makes them happy rather than fearful.
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