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The Comfort of Dogs
Home Pets Dogs
By: Edie Mackenzie Email Article
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As I write this, itís a cold (9 F and dropping!) Minnesota Sunday evening. The fireplace is roaring, the furnace chugging away and my dogs, as ever, are here with me. I just gave Sonagh a good belly rub and sheís gone to join Sadie on the dog bed by the door. We have two dog beds, but more often than not, I find them curled up together on one.

As I watch them snuggle together Iím reminded once again of the comfort my dogs bring me everyday. The big head resting on my lap just wanting to be close. No other reason. Sadie sleeping behind my chair everyday in my office as I work. The simple act of patting a head or scratching an ear as I pass by during my day. All give me a sense of peace and comfort thatís hard to put into words. When they bark at unseen things, I know Iím safe and well protected. I sleep a deeper and more restful sleep knowing my fierce (LOL!) protector dogs are always on the job. Only my husband and I know how sweet they are; would be burglars donít.

With all the comfort my dogs bring me, it begs the question ďAm I making THEM comfortable?Ē

What do dogs need to be comfortable? In truth, not a lot compared to what we humans feel we need. But, what they need more than anything else may surprise you; they need a leader. They need you to be the pack leader so they donít have to be. Just the simple act of taking leadership (okay, itís not always simple, but well worth the effort!) gives your dog psychological comfort.

And hereís why. Dogs are pack animals and happiest as a member of a pack led by a strong leader Ė you! With you as their pack leader, all other comforts become secondary. I highly recommend reading Jan Fennellís book ĎThe Dog Listenerí and Cesar Milanís book ĎCesarís Wayí. Both help you understand how dogs think, why they need you as their pack leader and, most importantly, how to become the pack leader. I particularly like Jan Fennellís methodology. Iíve used her methods and the change in our dogs has been remarkable!

Okay, so what else does your dog need to be comfortable?

To start with, a good balanced diet and plenty of clean water are essential for a healthy, long-lived dog. Now having said that, beware of grocery store brand dog foods. Take the time to research the food youíre giving your dog, because you wouldnít believe the disgusting things put into dog food and how harmful it is, short and long term, to your dog.

Next is exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog. Take the time to walk your dog. And, by all means, take the time to play. We have been known to throw stuffed toys down the hall for a rigorous game of indoor fetch. (Like I said earlier, I live in Minnesota. We donít play outside very much in the winter; too darn cold!) You can also exercise your dogís mind by playing a game of ĎHide the Toyí. Tell your dog to ĎStayí, leave the room with their favorite toy and hide it somewhere in the house. Then release them to go find the toy.

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Edie MacKenzie is the author of The Definitive Guide to Labradoodles. You can learn more about this ebook at: labradoodle

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