Most dogs are spoiled to some extent. At least I hope so. I spoil my dog Tasha for all the mistreated dogs I cannot rescue. I spoil her because she is devoted to me and loves me unconditionally and uncontrollably.
Here are some of the ways I make sure she gets the best life possible. If you aren’t treating your dog with the same devotion already, try them yourself.
1. Take your dog for walks.
Walks are the best kind of exercise for dog spoiling. If you pause every time your dog smells something interesting, I think he (or she) feels like he’s the one in charge. Tasha gets walks of some length most days, and we usually go the same route so she gets to visit her favorite stinky spots.
2. Talk to your dog in sentences.
Even if dogs don’t understand anything you say, they like to listen to lengthy chatter. I think they feel more engaged with a string of sentences than they do with one-word commands. Tasha’s ears perk up with intense concentration when I talk to her, especially if I direct a question her way.
3. Save special dog treats for special times.
If dogs get the same kind of biscuits or bones every time, they become less eager to please than if you indulge them with something different. A new treat will cause them to respond with utter joy. Tasha acts like she’s just been saved when I add an extra treat to her bowl after I’ve been away longer than usual.
4. Let your dog sleep with you.
Not necessarily on the bed with you, but somewhere in the same room. I think the closer they are to you the more included dogs feel. Tasha sleeps on one spot of my bed. She also has her own dog bed in the room, which she uses for naps. Talk about spoiled.
5. Leave a light on for your dog.
While dogs depend on their smell much more than on their sight, they like to see what’s going on around them. I think they feel safer when they’re more oriented. Tasha goes in and out of the house during the night, and she seems happy to find her way back to the bed without too much effort.
6. Be consistent with your dog.
To dogs, routine is everything. I think they like to know what’s coming next. Tasha knows that immediately after breakfast (and dinner) she gets a half a biscuit. It’s something she can count on and look forward to.
7. Give your dog some alone time.
Dogs are pack animals, but when they’re part of a large family, they’ll appreciate the attention of just you. I think it makes them feel more like they belong to the pack when they can count on a familiar face. Tasha gets my undivided attention most of the time. When I turn my attention to someone else, she becomes a jealous mess. So I make sure she always gets at least a few solo minutes no matter what.
8. Pet your dog for no reason.
Dogs love it when you stop everything just to pet them. I think unexpected petting makes them feel even more special. Tasha loves to be petted under her chin, and when she isn’t demanding about it, the sudden attention makes her uncontrollably happy.
9. Give your dog a new toy.
Dogs become totally enthralled with a toy they haven’t been chewing on for six months. I think it’s total entertainment for them. Tasha loves any stuffed toy, and I give her one so infrequently that she gets extra wiggly when I do.
10. Introduce your dog to a new friend.
Dogs love it when anyone different is nice to them. I think they’re thankful for more friends. Tasha wags her whole body in joyous disbelief when someone she doesn’t know indulges her with kisses and treats.
At this point in her seven years, Tasha is used to being treated with all of this kind of attention. She is used to the kisses on the nose and the unexpected treats. Still, I want to make sure she stays this way. I want her to be as happy and content–and as spoiled–as she can be.