About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy?

What makes your dog happy? Do you know?

As I was watching Cookie play in the bush, it got me thinking on the subject.

All dogs are different.

Even within the same breed, each dog is an individual. Cookie is a little more individual than most, particularly being a Rottie.

Many people pamper their dogs with fancy toys, fancy beds, fancy collars, fancy outfits, fancy strollers ... But how much of that does their dog actually appreciate?

Even if you try to pamper your dog with the things dogs enjoy, are those the things your dog enjoys the most?

Watching Cookie throwing herself through the tall grass hunting mice made me think how easy to please she is. Give her a chunk of land with some critters and she can be entertained for hours. She does love going for walks, exploring new things and new places, working with her bipeds ... But it is the hunt that makes her the happiest.

Jasmine and JD are the same breed. And yet, each of our guys has always had a strong preference.

JD loves to fetch. 

He'd fetch until he'd drop. That is his favorite thing to do. Besides eating, of course.

He will go for a walk but doesn't have to have it and he has little interest in hunting for things (though now, seeing Cookie having all that fun with that, he's starting to get interested in that).

Jasmine loved hiking.

She wasn't interested in fetch a tall, unless it was in the lake. There she'd spend hours going after a ball or her flying squirrel. But what she loved the most was walking through the woods and trails.

Cookie is a hunter.

Technically, you don't need to walk her at all. Just take her outside, somewhere with little critters around. We'll never have a mouse problem with her around. At the ranch, we do go for walks but Cookie really just runs from one hunting spot to another. She appreciates it most when we sit down and let her do her thing.

So we spend most of the time with her just watching her having fun. That's what she wants.

I realized how important it is to know what your dog really wants and be able to give it to them. And that not all dogs can be pleased with the same things.

What makes your dog happy?

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Observation Skills Of Dogs  
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It  
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks 
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?  
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone? 
Dog Training And Emotions 
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either 
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear 


  1. It has taken me a while to get to know what makes each of my dogs happy. Plus, it changes as they age. I was very pleased when I had an amazing trainer at a positive training workshop tell me what Huxley loves; "The movement itself brings him joy" she observed. This changed how I dealt with my youngest and our relationship, as well as his happiness, has improved immensely.

    1. It's great to get some sound advice, isn't it? And so helpful to understand what makes our dogs tick.

  2. Rama loves to sleep and to run (lol), Sassy loves to bark, Cairo loves to jump and bother Sassy, Isy loves to boss everyone around and Siren loves to play. She is still a pup so her likes are still developing and revealing themselves to us. :-)

    1. Sounds like you have your dogs all figured out. :-). Cookie sleeps only wen there isn't anything better to do LOL

  3. Haley loves playing basketball! She bounces it off her back, butt and nose (like a seal) and it's her thing...what makes her happy. She had a stretched ACL last year that seems to get aggravated occasionally, so we don't always let her go crazy, even though she wants to!

    1. That is a unique play preference! :-) Sorry about her knee, I hope she still gets to have enough fun!

  4. Our boys are/were so incredibly different. I only just figured out that Thumper loves to run at will, with or without us, and he doesn't need much so we've been taking short breaks where I let him run with reckless abandon up and down with his toy while I cheer him on. Huffle used to give us ten minutes of attention a day and preferred to be left to his own devices the rest of the time, totally convincing us he was really a cat.

    1. It's amazing how different their personalities can be, isn't it?

  5. I'm lucky that Laika is very play motivated. She loves fetching and nose work, I can't tell which one she loves more. She's so easy to please; a game of tug, frisbee, fetch, or hide and seek all make her giddy.

    1. You are lucky that your dog is so easy to please. Cookie likes games too but gets bored of them easily.


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