It’s the same ritual every morning. After breakfast and a few minutes of downtime the games begin. Mimi and Matisse begin AM Playtime. First the approach, each one letting the other one know what games are about to begin and what toys should be included. Then, it happens.

 The play growling, chasing and toy theft goes into full swing. As we sip our morning joe on the lanai and attempt to count the ibis, ducks and sea gulls on the bright green golf course we hear their joyous raunt below as they run from the couch to master bed room bed and back again as fast as their paws will carry them on the carpet. It’s a joy to us to hear and makes us think they are happy.

 But besides having and good appetite and playing, how can you know if your dog is really happy?

First thing you do is look deeply into their eyes. A dog that is happy will show his emotion throughout his entire body, from the brightness of his eyes, all the way to the rapid wagging of his tail. A happy dog often looks like he is wiggling his entire body in eager anticipation at seeing you walk in the door after a long day at work. A dog may playfully jump up just to be close to you in his excitement. Which in my case, despite proper obedience training, they still do.

 Next, show him who’s the boss. A happy dog will roll on his back and expose his belly to you, a sign that he is happy and is trusting of you. Rewarding your pup with a nice belly scratch in this instance will increase the happiness exponentially. In fact, a dog that initiates physical contact, such as bumping up against you, putting his muzzle in your hand or pawing at you is expressing his happiness and desire to be with you. Mimi is infamous for sitting on the couch next to me and slapping her paw down to get my attention and my hand to cradle her head. Then she sits on me. All 40 pounds of her.

Finally, A happy and content dog may show you how he feels just by sitting quietly beside you with his head on your lap or with his body nestled against yours. This is his way of showing a relaxed happiness that demonstrates his enjoyment at simply being in your presence. I always joke that whatever room I go to Mimi is already there. Waiting for me…..how does she do that?

 Anyways, between you and me what dog wouldn’t be happy if mom and dad owned a dog treat company for God’s sake!

 Enjoy the day and your dogs and stop back by to see what’s cooking at Top Dog Kitchen.