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Signs of a Happy Dog

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Not so long ago, scientists didn't believe animals had thoughts or feelings to study. Attitudes have changed. There's been an uptick in research into how dogs think, feel and learn. This result allows us to better understand dogs needs and motivations; lending to happier (less stressed) dogs!

10 easy ways to measure your dog's happiness according to a board certified pet behaviorist

So, how do we know if our dog is happy? According to Dr. Radosta, DVM, there're ten easy ways to see if your dog is jovial.

Signs of a happy dog according to a board certified pet behaviorist
  1. Tail Wags: Fido wags their tail with a big butt-wiggling, body-smacking wag at least once a day.

  2. Appetite: Healthy, happy dogs have healthy appetites. If your dog eats too little; it could be a sign that they feel poorly (sick) or they aren't happy.

  3. Tail Position: The tail should be level with their back or just above it. A tail that is too high indicates tension and a tail that is too low or tucked points to fear.

  4. Playfulness: Your pooch should play with you, toys or other pets each day.

  5. Outdoorsy: Dogs should be eager to go outside. Whether that means swimming, sunbathing or taking a walk. A dog should be rewarded with outdoor time everyday.

  6. Independence: Dogs should show their independence by napping in a different room or sleeping peacefully at home while their human is gone.

  7. Calm: If your canine panics or becomes anxious more than once a month no matter the cause; it's keeping them from living their best life.

  8. Social: Dogs need to get away like the rest of us; but they're primarily social creatures. Happy dogs want to be in the same vicinity as their family most of the time.

  9. Controlled: It's dogs nature to bark. But if your dog barks at things you cannot hear, or doesn't know when to stop barking; then the dog is showing signs of anxiety.

  10. Nap Expert: Dogs sleep up to 16 hours per day. Happy dogs sleep through the night and relax during the day.

Dogs see the world through their nose. The brain power that dogs devote to processing smells far exceeds our own. The olfactory bulb and olfactory cortex makes up approximately 10% of the dog's brain (compared to a tiny fraction of the human brain). Dr. Gregory Burns (Neuroscientist) says that this is an underestimate; "The importance of a particular sensory modality goes beyond where that information first hits the brain, because then it gets integrated into all the perceptual and decision-making systems." This means a dog's perception and understanding of what's going on around them are very different from their humans. Their world is make up of smells more than sights; as we see the work, our canine counterparts smells it. Therefore, stopping to sniff on walks is not a waste of time. It makes it a richer experience for our pups; as it creates a mental exercise that their mind craves. If you want to ensure your dog's happiness, stop and smell the roses on your next walk. Well, maybe not the roses, but let your pooch smell the neighbors mailbox. Let them learn their environment so they can feel safe and content in it. Related: High Value Dog Treats


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