Happiness Protocol

RandyC

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Inspired by the conversation between @GinnyW and @ChristineL in this thread , I thought I'd start a new thread to find out what everyone does with their pets for happiness protocol. I thought we could learn from each other and get new ideas to try and expose our pets to different experiences.

What do your pets love to do? What plays/acts do you do with them that make them the happy/content/engaging?

I'll start. Here's ChewChew's happy list:

1. Getting treats from a neighbor
2. Interacting with neighbors or strangers during walks
3. Saying hi to other dogs during walks
4. Cat watching/stalking and occasionally he gets to lick a cat (he's a little obsessed with cats)
5. Sniff walks
6. Belly rubs in bed
7. Meal time, preferably a big meal (which he doesn't get right now)
8. Raw goat's milk after evening walks
9. When my spouse gets home from work, after the car is parked, I'll let ChewChew out and he chases either one of us around the car in the yard.
10. Sometimes in the yard, one of us would start running and call his name. He chases us and gets a treat when he gets us.
11. Hide 'n seek in the house
12. He hops on our belly to get his back scratched when we lay down on the floor/bed
13. Last week I took him to Petco for the first time in many years. He had a blast. We did it again today.
14. Some things that he used to get to do: eating his meal from a piece of meat bigger than his head, chewing on knuckle bones, chewing on tennis balls

One thing I'd like to try - teach him to "talk" with talking buttons, like Stella from Hunger for Words or Bunny from Fluent Pet. I thought it'd be good for him (and me) to learn something new. Has anyone tried?
 

Dr. Jeff

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Thanks Randy for starting this discussion.

Archie's "sweet spot" is any food or treat at any time. It doesn't take much food for him to start BEAMing or to be super happy.


Also, just starting to put his harness on to go out for a walk or ride in the car will also help him activate healing by being super happy.

He also loves the things on this graphic (tho not all the time, unlike food):


For Aviva (our Bengal kitty), it's food, exploring and active play such as with:


@Dr. Jean, do you have any other tips for kitty happiness and purring.

@Dr. Sara, I wonder what you've found to work for your pups?

@ChristineL, does snuffle matting do it for Hope?
 

aruna

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My cat Shasta really livens up and looks happy when I take him for a walk - as soon as we climb the fence and it's the neighboring land - he gets excited, starts running around and climbing trees. My both cats love Da Bird - no other toy has brought them so much joy. They especially enjoy it when I make sound effects with it. They also like fluffy blankets.
 

ChristineL

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My doggie Hope LOVES ADORES is PASSIONATE about her snuffle sessions. She has 7 snuffle mats and 10 snuffle balls all at once. She also LOVES laying on her back for a long belly rub. We started doing Tui Na on her once a day and oh boy, she LOVES it very much. She enjoys sniff walk occasionally but she loves smelling the air while we take her on a stroller ride (and yes, we get to walk a lot pushing her around). Oh did I mention she gets a sardine every Sunday (We call it "Sardine Sunday") which she ❤️!
 

GinnyW

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Rides in the truck - in the cab, of course, tethered but not crated. Sniff walks alongside the golf cart - I don't walk well - big, long, mostly slow, walks. Meeting other dogs and people - he's very enthusiastic, and can jump up too much for some. Having company (rare) in the house, which causes him to grab anything handy and destroy it. Watching the whole world pass by, from our second-story deck and his greenhouse window. Loves his food and all treats - we play "Fifty-two Pickup" where I hurl a number of small treats across the floor of three rooms and let him seek them all out. He knows "left" and "right" and "straight ahead", if he gets stuck. Sleeping in the sun. Massage, Tui Na, acupressure. Getting nails done - because I use nice meaty treats, and LOTS.
 

RandyC

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Thank you, Dr. Jeff, Aruna, Christine, and Ginny! I really enjoyed reading what your pets love to do.

@ChristineL , wow 7 snuffle mats and 10 snuffle balls ALL AT ONCE! That sounds like a great mental exercise for Hope. We tried snuffle mat a year ago. ChewChew was eager to get the treats (he was done in under 1 minute) but not sure if he was enjoying it (tail down). It might have been his BEAM at the time. I should take the mat out and try again. LOL "Sardine Sunday". I'd love to try sardine when ChewChew's stomach allows it

@GinnyW , this week I started putting some treats on the floor of the living room and have ChewChew find them. After he finds each one he seems to look at me for instructions. I need to up my treat game and get some stinkier treats so he knows to use his nose. After COVID lockdown started, we started to groom him ourselves, but one thing we still cannot do is his nails. Doesn't matter how many treats, he just pulls his feet back.

I'm glad to know both of your dogs enjoy Tui Na. I was able to join in part of the webinar. I'll rewatch the recording so I can learn how to do it on ChewChew.

@Dr. Jeff , I know I put this thread under other complementary therapies. But I'm thinking these activities/ways of living (fresh varied food, sniffing, happy/engaging activities...) are really the "main" therapy, aren't they?
 

Dr. Jeff

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I'm thinking these activities/ways of living (fresh varied food, sniffing, happy/engaging activities...) are really the "main" therapy, aren't they?
Exactly!

All of these activities help pets Go With the Flow and heal naturally.
 

GinnyW

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I'm so glad you said that, Randy! When we FEEL good, we ARE good - both pets and people. Anything that makes energy flow generates health - and the more the body feels it, the more it heals itself and functions its best. It's as if happiness pushes out any poor function and replaces it with the best possible function in every organ and cell. And THAT reinforces, multiplies, enhances every action and feeling. Life is about happiness: frolic, running, exploring, learning, making friends, enjoying rest and contemplation, and little jobs well done. To me, that is the meaning of "holism", and the goal of our holistic actions:) Let's all go there!
 

ChristineL

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@RandyC have you tried lick mat for ChewChew? We've added this to Hope's Happiness protocol recently (which I forgot to mention in my previous post) and it's working great! She looks forward to her licky session every day!

These are what we use for Hope:


and


As for extra smelly treats, have you tried giving ChewChew green tripes? This was recommended by a HA member @ivegrgas and it works great (and yes, it's quite stinky): GREENTRIPE.COM Green Tripe K9 Magic
 

Dr. Jeff

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Wow, that's a perfect way to phrase the benefits of happiness and "flow" in dogs!

May I quote what you wrote?
 

RandyC

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Life is about happiness: frolic, running, exploring, learning, making friends, enjoying rest and contemplation, and little jobs well done.
I just love this summary of life's joy, Ginny!

@ChristineL For some reason I'm not getting the notifications of new posts on this thread so I just saw your suggestions. But it's like we are on the same wavelength. I ordered a lick mat and dehydrated lamb green tripe from Amazon a couple days ago and they will arrive later today :D.

This is the green tripe I ordered. Will see how the quality is and how ChewChew likes it:

I re-tried snuffle mat yesterday and ChewChew seemed more interested this time around. He kept going back to sniff the mat trying to find every little bits.

I found this video last week while trying to find easy activities/games to play with ChewChew that also encourage sniffing.


So far, we've played Find It, Pick a Hand, Towel Roll-Up, and Box Game. He enjoyed all of them, because, treats. For Pick a Hand, he was just picking at random (not using his nose), but I think he still liked it. For the Towel Roll-Up, he spent a good 10 mins sniffing and trying to figure it out, economical and fun 🙂.
 

RandyC

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Also, we gave ChewChew beef back ribs over the weekend. He LOVED it and was so satisfied. This was his first rib/complicated meal in quite a while. He's cleaned the meat so well off the bones. After his Happy Meal he did his happy dance, extra long version.
 

Dr. Jeff

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All this is wonderful to hear!

Thanks for sharing Randy and Sherry. ChewChew's a lucky pup to have you as his guardians.😁
 

Dr. Jeff

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Here's Aviva playing a sniffing and fun game using a muffin tin and treats hidden under toys:

 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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Oh yes, kitties need more attention that a lot of folks think!

If your cat is the cuddly type, dedicated kitty-focused petting with 100% attention (no computer or phone, and at least once a day but more is better!) are essential. Not all cats want that, but offer it anyway!

Interactive play (i.e., Play Therapy | Little Big Cat) is great for most kitties... exceptions would be if your cat is unable to play for some physical reason. The principle is your active involvement.

Here are some more ideas for environmental enrichment: Play Therapy | Little Big Cat
 

ChristineL

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@RandyC - Sorry I just saw your messages! I'm so glad to hear ChewChew is having so much fun! When they have fun, we have fun, right?! How is he liking the new treat?

I'm going to try Towel Roll-up with Hope tomorrow. I recently added a k9 kore disk (K-9 Kore Disk with Base) as well as putting a snuffle mat on a ramp to the mix...for some added challenge...oh boy Hope does get a good workout from it each time LOL.
 

Dr. Christina

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Great to start this thread, Randy.
Lets hear from other community members.
What make your companions happy?

My graddog Memphis loves his walks, frisbe, attention and naps.

Dr. Christina
 

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