When your dog wags his tail, you know that he is excited, but is he content? BestBullySticks.com knows that you try to provide your dog with the absolute best, but your dog’s happiness is more than just two meals a day and a belly rub. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a way to look at human motivation by piecing out essential physical, emotional and mental needs. With dogs being highly social creatures, many of these principles can be applied to develop a more complete four-legged best friend. Read on to find out how you really can have a happier dog.

Physiological (Pyhsical Needs)
Fresh Clean Water – Your dog’s water should be refreshed daily and free of debris. If a water bowl is kept outside, make sure it’s not stagnant (this can breed disease), frozen in winter or overheated in summer.

Good Nutrition – Every dog owner will have a different recipe for success with their dog’s food. There is no one right answer, but feeding your dog healthy and nutritious meals is important. Talk to your vet about good feeding options for your dog. Make sure your dog is in a healthy weight range as well; overweight dogs are very unhappy. Treating your dog is something that shouldn’t be hard either. A good bully stick or all-natural chew from BBS will guarantee your dog is getting a healthy, nutritious treat.

Exercise – Is your dog getting enough exercise? For the best health, your dog needs to expend their energy (which they always have plenty of). Exercise will make your dog’s life longer and fuller and prevent compulsive disorders or unwanted behavior. Breeds are different in their exercise needs, but all dogs do need it.

Hygiene – As much as possible, your dog needs to stay clean so they are comfortable in their own body and skin. Little things like dirty ears, long nails or tartar on teeth can lead to very serious and painful problems. Keeping a clean, brushed coat, trimmed nails, clean ears and teeth are one less potential discomfort your dog has to feel.

Chewing – Unlike humans, dogs have a need to chew. Providing the proper toys and chews will help them meet this desire without taking it out on your belongings.

A Place to “Go” – It’s very important for dogs to have a consistent place to use the bathroom away from their “den.” A highly normal dog will eliminate away from where they eat and sleep. Doing otherwise means they feel as if they aren’t given proper time or a place to do so.

Shelter
Your dog’s wild ancestors sought shelter to get away from the elements of outdoors. Your dog, in a domestic setting, is most likely confined to a limited area as an inside or outside dog. Plainly put, most dogs are happiest when living full time in-doors with you. As pack animals by nature, they are social creatures. However, if your dog does enjoy living outdoors, provide the best and well-equipped shelter possible. On really cold nights or really hot summer days, bring your dog indoors.  

Security
While providing the best possible shelter for your dog is a form of security, this need is more about a sense of a safe environment. A home that makes your dog feel safe around all family members, other dogs and even alone is a home where your dog will thrive.

Social
If you research any dog training, experts will stress the importance of socialization training along side basic obedience. Most likely, your dog won’t go their whole life without meeting canine or human strangers. Dogs, being naturally social creatures, will need to be around others to bring out their best in their character. People and other dogs are happy to be around a dog that is well socialized. Socialization can be taught at any age but may take longer the older the dog paired with background.

Esteem
It may sound strange, but dogs do have self-esteem. Fostering a positive self-esteem in your dog is important for their overall wellbeing because it creates normalized dog characteristics. Abnormal actions like submissive peeing, severe separation anxiety or high stress in new situations are all signs of low esteem. Build your dogs esteem by spending lots of quality time with them, going on long walks and always speaking positively and calmly to your dog, even when they’re in trouble. Your dog can be disciplined without screaming our shouting.

Cognitive
Dogs do have the ability to think and work things out. Some dogs are more intelligent that others, but once you experience your dog hiding a destroyed slipper, you know they have the ability to reason. Giving your dog mental challenges is important for this reason. You don’t want your dog to get bored because that could mean many more destroyed slippers. Trying out a dog sport, chewing on a tough dog chew or even a dog game will provide needed mental stimulation for Fido.

Dogs are resilient, good-natured creatures by default. Trying new activities, taking a different walking route and going new places are all ways your dog can live a full life; but so are a comfy bed, wholesome food and a safe environment. Dogs are wonderful companions, so keep their too-short lives brimming with happiness. BestBullySticks.com knows they give enough to us, so we should return the favor. 

Tell us your tips on keeping your dog happy & healthy by leaving a comment!