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10 Things Dogs Really Want Their Owners To Do

10 Things Dogs Really Want Their Owners To Do

We need dogs and they need us. The problem is that very often, we neglect to give them their basic needs. They were originally wolves about 100,000 years ago and about 15,000 years ago, they became domesticated animals. They are truly man’s best friend as they have hunted, guarded, nurtured and cared for humans ever since then. The dogs themselves thrive on being loved, protected and when they can help humans in distress. Dog brain scans now help us understand how dogs react to smells and odors.

In the town where I live, there are countless dogs but it is very rare to see them being exercised. They are used exclusively as guard dogs but as they yap and bark at anybody and everybody, I do not think they are very useful at all! They have certainly not been trained in any way and they are often left outside in unpleasant climate conditions.

What can help a dog to be healthy, happy and feel wanted? Here are 10 things that dogs really want their owners to know.

“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”- Kinky Friedman

1. They want a safe and comfortable living environment.

Some dogs like the Siberian husky and the German shepherd can be quite happy living outside in a doghouse, even in a cold climate. But experts are now telling us that, although dogs always lived outside for centuries, there are now more risks. Just think of dangerous gardening tools, pesticides, poisonous snakes, nasty neighbors and so on. But the biggest threat comes from extreme weather so a dog can freeze to death in winter or get heat stroke in the torrid summer. Dogs like to be outside at times but the best solution is to make sure they have their own space inside.

2. They do not want to be trapped in a parked car.

How many times have you seen a dog suffer in a parked car? I bet, lots of times. Watch the video where the veterinarian tries it out for himself. Although the windows are opened one or two inches, the temperature rises from 97°F to 117°F after 30 minutes. As dogs cannot perspire, they suffer terribly and they also feel helpless because they are not in control of the situation. The rule is never leave your dog in a parked car in warm weather.

3. They want to be taken out for exercise.

They need exercise and a change of scene. Every dog needs a daily walk and if you cannot do it, try to find a dog walker. Exercise helps the dog to keep fit, avoid digestion and behavior problems. Vary the route and allow the dog to explore all the new smells. Being left in the yard is not enough because the dog will not run up and down like an athlete in training!

Keeping them isolated and confined can lead to all sorts of behavior problems. I have just looked out of my window at my neighbour’s dog and their garden has been ruined by his destructive digging. He is very rarely taken out for a walk.

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4. They want to socialize.

Exposing the dog to other dogs and people is a great way to socialize them. But make a few mistakes here and your dog will end up being either too aggressive or very shy. The dog needs to get used to other dogs so that she behaves well at dog fairs, community events and when meeting other dogs during exercise. Frenetic and noisy kids should be avoided and also the owner should try and get the dog used to men with beards, women with long skirts, different floor textures, mixed weather and strange smells. These are all part of your dog socialization program.

An extreme case scenario is where you have a dog fight on your hands or where he or she might bite a child. Usually, the dog is overwhelmed and the owner might claim that he was working on socialization for the dog.

5. They need boundaries, just like kids.

Call it what you like: training, management or guidance, but every dog needs this. We tend to forget that a dog has the brain of a two year old child and therefore needs boundaries, rules, manners and consequences. Experts say that the training sessions should never last more than 10 minutes and they should always end on a high note, with the dog having done it right and getting a reward. The rewards for the dog and the owner are great. You have a calmer and more cheerful pet.

6. They want to eat well.

Just like us, they love their food. Some people are convinced that giving dogs raw meat is just what they would have had when they were like wolves. The fact is that a dog’s digestive system has evolved since then and is no longer equipped to process this raw meat. There is a real danger of getting salmonella or suffering from E. coli which is no joke. A balanced diet of fat, carbs and protein is best. Also, most dogs do best with eating in the morning and the evening.

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7. They need brain training.

Maybe you thought that dogs just need physical exercise for a healthy body. But the dog also has a brain which can be stimulated through games, toys and other devices. They want to investigate and discover using their brains and senses. You may want to play with her. But when she is on her own she would like to have a safe chew toy, for example. There are doggie board games and puzzles now available. Exposing your dog to new situations, sights and smells, such as going to the car wash, is also a good way to enrich her existence. Any activity which will help her focus, think and solve problems will make her a smarter and happier pet.

8. They need to earn a reward.

Every time you comfort a dog when he is afraid, this is interpreted as a reward and the fearful behavior becomes reinforced so it will happen with sickening regularity. Much the same goes when we give him a treat which he has not earned at all. It is recommended that you ask him to fetch something or sit before he actually gets the treat.

There are now work-to-eat toys which can contain the dog’s food. He has to work out how to open these to eat by pawing or nosing it. Some of the more popular ones are called Buster Cube or Dog Pyramid.

9. They do not want too much talk.

People talk to their dogs all the time and they do not realize that body language is far more effective than mere words. As we said above, the dog has a brain like a two year old child. We have to use the right body language though. A classic example when we talk too much during training. If we want the dog to stay and not come towards us, we tend to put up our hand. The dog interprets that as an invitation to come forward! It is much better to use our body language more effectively and to talk less.

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10. They do not want to be hugged!

What could be more natural than to hug a dog affectionately? Actually, dogs hate being hugged. The reason is a simple one. Dogs have no arms and see this as an attempt at dominance on your part. But you only want to be affectionate. It’s not on. The dog will feel threatened or afraid.

Dogs will sometimes tolerate hugs from kids because they know them well but otherwise, this is often when dog bites happen. Look at what happens when a child tries a hug. The dog may lick her lips or pull her ears back against her head which means she is not happy at all. If you want to express your love, try rubbing her back near her tail and don’t pat her head. She does not like it!

Featured photo credit: Dog/LuAnn Snawder Photography via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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