You can teach an old dog owner new tricks.
Data shows that around 44 percent of all American households own at least one dog. Many own more, since there are approximately 78 million dogs kept as pets across the country.
Dog owners tend to swap tips and tricks between themselves, but a lot of the advice can be similar. By now you know the importance of taking your dog for regular walks. However, there are other dog hacks that aren’t as commonly known.
Keep reading for seven simple dog tricks that you’ll wish you had known about before.
Go Overboard with Praise
Our list of dog tricks starts with praise. If you’ve ever seen a dog, you know that it’s not hard at all to praise them. They’re sweet, goofy animals that love praise almost as much as they love barking at the UPS delivery guy.
But as a human, you may feel a bit funny praising your dog like they just won a Nobel Peace Prize when all they did was go outside and use the bathroom. Don’t feel weird at all; they love hearing how proud you are of them.
Unlike cats, most dogs live to please people. Saying things like “Good girl!” or “You are the best puppy ever!” may feel silly to you, but your dog will eat it up.
Cover the Furniture
The day you took your dog home, you probably vowed to keep them off the couch and out of the bed, but like every other dog owner before you, you soon discovered that it was much easier said than done.
Instead of scolding them for climbing on the couch, consider using a cover for your furniture. It doesn’t have to be any sort of fancy new comforter, either; you can use an old quilt or blanket that’s been hanging out in your closet for a while.
It’s much easier to pull off the covers and throw them in the washing machine than it is to examine the couch every day for dog hair that needs removing.
What about your bed? That’s a bit trickier, but your best bet is buying a comfy dog bed from a company like Yogibo and placing it in close proximity to your human-sized bed. A high-quality dog bed will allow your four-legged friend to stay close to you without interrupting your REM cycle.
Take Them Outside in the Rain
It’s 3 a.m. and rainy, but your dog is acting like he needs to use the bathroom. He can hold it until the storm passes, right?
Actually, it’s not OK. Dog owners need to be as consistent as possible, especially when it comes to letting your dog use the bathroom. If you don’t take him outside when he has to go, he may decide that it’s fine to relieve himself in the laundry room instead.
Before too long, you can end up with a dog who refuses to go outside unless the weather is bright and sunny. Buying your dog a rain poncho and snow boots is a better alternative than that.
Clean Their Teeth Without a Toothbrush
You know dental health is important for dogs, but your pup absolutely hates it when you come near him with a toothbrush, so what are you supposed to do?
Grab their favorite rope toy, or better yet, buy them a brand new one. Then rub a bit of dog toothpaste directly onto the rope and hand it to your furry friend.
If your dog already likes rope toys, they shouldn’t mind the toothpaste. As they chew on the rope, they’ll also be getting cleaner teeth without realizing it.
Give Your Dog with Healthy Treats
There’s a reason sad eyes are often known as “puppy-dog eyes.” Dogs are at their most adorably manipulative when they’re looking at your dinner and begging for you to share.
It’s natural to rationalize giving them one bite of your cheeseburger, but it rarely stops there. The more unhealthy table scraps you feed the dog, the more likely it is that they’ll turn into a picky eater who refuses to eat anything else.
You don’t want to spend all that money on healthy freeze-dried dog food only for them to ignore it. So instead of sharing your dinner, head to the pet store and look for healthier dog treats without a lot of fillers and byproducts.
In a pinch, you can even use certain fruits and vegetables. It’s possible for dogs to learn to love apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Stay away from grapes and raisins, though, since those are toxic for dogs.
Reward Them in Quiet Moments
You tell your dog to be quiet when they’re barking at squirrels, but what do you do when you take them out on a walk and they resist the urge to bark at a strange jogger who passes by?
Don’t let moments like that pass without letting your dog know that you saw their good behavior. Complimenting them on their restraint can be just as important as calling them out when they misbehave.
Take Your Pup New Places
Dogs are like humans in that they like routine, but they also like a change of pace every now and then. A few days will always want to go on the same walk around the block every day, but most dogs will like it if you switch things up.
If a new dog park opened up across town, why not hop in your car with Fido and check it out? That doesn’t mean you have to go there every week, but it can be a great way to get out and see something different.
Seeing new sights and sounds also gets dogs excited, and when they’re excited, they’re more likely to run around and tire themselves out. It’s easy to take care of dogs when they don’t have so much pent-up energy.
Other Dog Hacks
Once you start looking for dog hacks, it’s hard to stop. You may even decide you want to become a do-it-yourself dog owner and do things like make your own dog toys. You can also install a dog door without any help!