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15 Vet-Reviewed Things Dogs Love: The Ultimate Happy Pup Activity List

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By Nicole Cosgrove

An australian shepherd dog is running on a green meadow in a dog zone

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs, or “man’s best friend,” hold a special place in our hearts with their loyalty, enthusiasm, and charm. As devoted companions, they bring joy and warmth into our lives, enriching our daily routines with their playful antics and unbridled affection. Understanding what makes our canine companions truly happy is not only essential for their well-being but also deepens the profound connection we share with them.

To help give your dogs their well-deserved love, we’ll explore 15 things that dogs adore, shedding light on the simple pleasures and activities that can make tails wag and hearts melt. Whether you’re a long-time dog owner or contemplating bringing a furry friend into your life, these insights into the canine world will help you strengthen the bond with your four-legged family member and ensure a life filled with happiness, tail wags, and love!

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What Do Dogs Like?

Dogs like a variety of things that bring them joy and contentment. They thrive on affection and attention from their owners, relishing cuddles, belly rubs, and the simple pleasure of being near their human family.

Playtime is a favorite, with interactive toys and games such as fetch keeping them entertained. Tasty treats and delicious meals are met with enthusiasm, and they appreciate the mental stimulation that comes from training and learning new tricks. Exploring the outdoors during walks, sniffing new scents, and meeting other dogs for social interaction are also high on their list.

Take note that dogs have individual personalities and preferences. As owners that form bonds with our furry companions, it’s important to take note of our dog’s likes and dislikes. What some dogs enjoy, others may not!

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The 15 Things Dogs Love

1. Love and Affection

Dogs are deeply affectionate animals that thrive on love and companionship. They form strong bonds with their owners and family members and enjoy nothing more than being petted, cuddled, and spoken to with affectionate tones. These displays of love and attention help strengthen the emotional connection between dogs and their human companions.

male owner hugging his dog
Image Credit: Lizardflms, Shutterstock

2. Playtime

Dogs are playful creatures, and playtime is an essential part of their lives. Whether it’s chasing a ball, wrestling with their favorite toys, or engaging in interactive games with their owners, playtime is an opportunity for dogs to expend energy, sharpen their instincts, and have a great time.


3. Snacks and Treats

Dogs have a well-deserved reputation for their love of food. Snacks and treats, when given in moderation, can be a source of delight for them. Whether it’s a tasty biscuit, a piece of cheese, or a specially designed dog treat, these rewards can make training sessions more enjoyable and serve as gestures of love and positive reinforcement.

Yorkshire Terrier dog eats a treat
Image Credit: Valerie Nik, Shutterstock

4. Belly Rubs and Physical Affection

Many dogs relish the feeling of a gentle belly rub or a scratch behind the ears. Physical affection from their owners is not only enjoyable but also a way for dogs to bond and feel secure in their relationships.

Take note, however, that not all dogs may enjoy this type of affection and that certain areas may be more sensitive than others. Be sure to respect how, where, and when your dog loves to be touched!


5. Walks

Dogs are natural explorers, and walks provide them with the opportunity to discover new scents, sights, and sounds. Daily walks are not just exercise but also a mental stimulant that keeps them engaged and happy.

dalmatian dog on a leash walking with the owner
Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock

6. Toys

From squeaky toys to plush animals, dogs love their toys. Toys provide entertainment, mental stimulation, and a sense of comfort. Dogs may also enjoy a favorite toy as a source of security.


7. Sniffing Around

Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell, and they love to put it to good use by sniffing around the environment. Going for walks and allowing them to explore different scents is a source of great enjoyment for them. Olfaction provides them with important information about their surroundings, letting them make decisions and learn from them.

dog sniffing the ground
Image Credit: algae, Shutterstock

8. Playing Fetch

Fetch is a classic game that dogs adore. The thrill of chasing a ball and bringing it back to their owner for another throw satisfies their natural instinct to retrieve and provides both exercise and mental engagement.


9. Chewing

Chewing is not only pleasurable for dogs but also serves a practical purpose: it increases the flow of saliva, helping to clean their teeth and relieving boredom or anxiety. Giving them appropriate items to chew, adapted to their age and size, can be deeply satisfying.

French Bulldog Chewing
Image credit: Mylene2401, pixabay

10. Socializing with Other Dogs

Dogs are inherently social animals, and they often love interacting with other dogs. Playdates, trips to the dog park, or simply meeting other dogs during walks can provide valuable socialization and happiness.


11. Car Rides

Some dogs absolutely love car rides, especially if they lead to exciting destinations like the park or a hiking trail. The sights outside the car window can be a thrilling experience for them. Just make sure your dog is secured in the back of the car while traveling, with a seat belt attached to their harness.

woman fixing dog harness in the car
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

12. Swimming

Many dogs have a natural affinity for water and thoroughly enjoy swimming. Whether it’s in a pool, lake, or even a backyard kiddie pool, swimming is a fun way for dogs to cool off and get some exercise. Swimming is also a great low-impact exercise for dogs with arthritis or those recovering from injuries.


13. Running

High-energy dogs often have a strong desire to run. Going for a run or jog with their owners allows them to release pent-up energy and enjoy the thrill of movement.

abruzzese mastiff dog running and playing toys with owner
Image Credit: Miroshnikova Arina, Shutterstock

14. Training and Learning New Tricks

Dogs are intelligent creatures that enjoy mental challenges. Training sessions and learning new tricks not only provide mental stimulation but also foster a sense of accomplishment for both the dog and the owner.


15. Sleep

Just like humans, dogs need rest to recharge, and they love a cozy and comfortable place to sleep. Whether it’s a soft bed, a favorite blanket, or a warm spot by the fireplace, sleep is essential for their overall well-being, and they often savor their moments of slumber.

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Final Thoughts

Understanding what dogs love is not merely a matter of curiosity but a fundamental aspect of responsible and compassionate pet ownership. By recognizing and catering to their preferences, we can provide our canine companions with lives filled with happiness, contentment, and the opportunity to thrive.

In appreciating and respecting their unique needs and desires, we ensure that the bond between humans and dogs remains as strong and enduring as ever, a testament to the enduring friendship between two species that have walked the path of life together for centuries!


Featured Image Credit: TeamDAF, Shutterstock

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