You're always looking for new ways to simplify your life, and whenever someone suggests new dog life hacks, you're willing to give it a try. But lately, you seem to be stuck in the same old routine. It's time to find some new tips and tricks to simplify your life and maybe even make your dog's more fun. Here are seven tips for dog owners to try today.
1. Does Your Dog Eat His Food Too Fast?
It's not uncommon for dogs to gobble down their food quickly when you feed them. This can lead to digestion issues or possible choking hazards. If your dog sucks up his food like a vacuum, consider adding a tennis ball or something similar to the middle of his food. In order to be able to get to all of his food, he'll have to push the ball around with his nose. This will slow his ability to eat the food, ensuring a healthier way to eat. Just pay attention — you might have one of those genius dogs that discovers he can just take the ball out and continue his normal eating ways. If that is the case, you may have to invest in other feeding methods like puzzle box feeders.
2. Cleaning Up Dog Hair
Have a dog that sheds so much that it feels like you have three or four pups living at home instead? While furminating your dog can remove some of the excess hair from his coat, you likely won't be able to keep up with all his shedding regardless. Beyond normal sweeping and vacuuming, consider a couple of simple options. Just like when you were a kid and rubbed a balloon against your head causing your hair to stick straight up, rubber gloves can have static attraction to your dog's fur. Simply wet the gloves and rub them on carpets or furniture and watch the hair stick like magic. Plus, it keeps you from having to touch all that excess hair! Another helpful tip is to get a window squeegee; for more than just getting your windows squeaky clean, a squeegee is great at sweeping up the accumulated hair together for you to easily dispose of.
3. Ease Your Dog's Anxiety When You're Away
Dogs have tremendous sense of smell, so it doesn't come as a shock that they form a bond with you through your natural scent. If your dog gets anxious with you being gone for longer periods of time, help ease his discomfort by creating a DIY dog pillow out of an old sweatshirt. Wear an old sweatshirt around the home for a few days so that it is filled with your scent before leaving your dog at home. Then, place a pillow inside of the sweatshirt, tuck the arms under the pillow and sew all of the openings. You may want to add Velcro to the waistline of the shirt so that you can take out the pillow and wash it. Just because your pup loves your smell, doesn't mean his natural smell won't get stale after a while. Having something around that reminds him of you can help ease his anxieties while you're gone.
4. Make Walks Easier
Want to know how to make walks more peaceful? Find a way to get your dog to actually stay by your side and not pull you along. Training your dog on walking skills is so important, but if you have a stubborn puppy that still fights against the leash, there is another option. Attach the leash to the front of the harness. That way, when he pulls, he gets turned around. After a few times of your dog noticing he's suddenly walking in the wrong direction he'll get the hint that his "leadership" skills aren't appreciated on your walk.
5. Reuse Old Stuffed Toys or Make Your Own
It is no surprise that dogs can chew up their favorite stuffed toys in a matter of minutes, which can end up being costly if you decide to keep going out and buying new ones. The good news is that there is a simpler and cheaper option out there — children's old stuffed animals. Yard sales are a great place to pick up old stuffed animals for super cheap that your dog can chew up at his leisure without you getting frustrated with the costs. Just make sure to look for ones that don't have any small detachable pieces that could present a choking hazard like buttons or plastic eyes. Another great option is to just use what you have at home. Old socks stuffed with fuzz or an old plastic water bottle make great chewing toys. Your dog doesn't care how cute it looks; he just wants something you and he can play tug-of-war with.
6. Keep Your Dog Contained
There are often times you want to keep your dog out of a room that doesn't have a door, but you don't want to spend money on expensive baby or dog gates. That's okay, a couple of tension curtain rods fed through some fabric can do the trick. Simply put the tension rods in the door frame and hang some fabric over it. Make sure you put the top rod high enough that your dog can't jump over, and low enough he can't crawl under. Most dogs won't test the fact that it is a fairly flimsy barrier, keeping them out of the room they shouldn't be in. This is a great way to keep your pup out of the kitchen when you're cooking. Make sure to test it when you're around because there are still those sneaky pooches that figure out that the cloth isn't in fact a wall.
7. Repair Dogging Scratches on Wood Furniture
This one may not be new to you, but it's definitely a helpful one. Did you know that walnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts have natural oils in them that can help restore wood furniture from scratches? Simply remove a portion of the nut from its shell and rub over the scratch diagonally to let the natural oils soak in. Then, rub your finger over where the scratch was to warm it up and help activate the oils. Wait a few minutes then use a soft cloth over the treated area to wipe away excess oils.
This isn't a comprehensive list of all the tips for dog owners on how to make both of your lives a little bit easier. There are so many other options out there to mix up your routine a little. Be open and keep an eye out for new ideas all the time. When you're at the dog park and awkwardly standing near the other pet parents, start a conversation. Ask them what they do to streamline their days or keep their pets entertained.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.