Do You Wonder If Your Dog Is Happy?

Is Honey sleeping because she just had breakfast and she’s tired? Is she just doing what dogs do? Or is she depressed because I didn’t take her for a long walk this morning?

Does my dog look at other dogs and wonder if they have better toys?

When I take Honey in the kayak, does she find it fun? Or does she just go along with it because it’s what I want and it keeps us together?

Why am I so much worse at playing tug with Honey than my husband?

Do you think I’m letting my neuroses get the better of me? Or do you wonder if your dog is happy too?

Does Honey the golden retriever look happy?

The problem is that around the house, Honey is a serene and serious dog. It’s only when a friend (or a stranger, in truth) visits that she acts truly excited.

When I come home, Honey slowly wanders down the stairs with a toy in her mouth. When the meter reader comes in, Honey spins with joy.

It’s enough to make a girl wonder if her dog is happy.

Honey the golden retriever is sleepy in the car.

I’d be a lot happier if you’d stop waking me up to ask me if I’m happy.

Maybe that’s why I write this blog. To make me accountable to a wider audience as I try to give Honey a fulfilling and interesting life.

And maybe I’m just a little bit crazy. And need to chill out.

After all, neurotic isn’t a good look on anyone. And maybe the only thing that makes Honey unhappy is if I keep asking her if she’s happy.

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Your Turn: Do you wonder if your dog is happy? Enough to make her unhappy? 

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Comments

  1. Oh geez, yes. Especially with Maggie. Jack wears his heart on his sleeve, so I know he loves his life…but Maggie. She’s so fearful I worry that she’s afraid all the time and hates her life. It’s only when we get those glimpses of her being a ‘real dog’ that I realize she’s happy.

  2. I don’t worry about whether or not their happy, I sort of believe they are. I worry about whether or not their bored. Sounds silly, but since I’ve converted to blogging full time, I always feel like I’m supposed to be entertaining them all day long. Like kids, if I see them lying around for too long, I have this compulsion to stop what I;m doing (crazy I know) and get them engaged in some sort of activity. Pamela we all need help BOL…

  3. I’m pretty sure these two are happy, how could they not be? And I know Honey adores you, and is super happy living with you.

  4. I worry about this all of the time. I’m constantly debating whether they would enjoy coming with us or simply staying home. Sometimes I think they just act happy to make me happy.

  5. I admit this thought has crossed my mind. Especially when I had a sick day this week and poor Moses missed a walk one day and had a short one the next day. And he’s just got one of those faces – like Eeyore. But I know all his needs are met and we do our best to enrich his life with toys and games and walks and socialization. Intellectually, I know he’s happy. And there’s a big difference between happy and excitable/anxious!

  6. Ours our pretty clear about when life is not meeting their expectations. Katy demands attention if she feels she’s being ignored, but she also craves alone time. She will go off into another room and just hang out. Bailey will drop toys on your feet if you are ignoring him for the TV or computer.

  7. Compared to most of the dogs in my neighborhood, my dogs lead a fabulous life! I know they suffer from boredom sometimes but, hey, so do I! Every minute of every day can’t be a party (whatever that might be by dog standards). I’m pretty sure they are happy with their lot in life because on numerous occasions of have put them out in the backyard, gone out later to join them, and found one of the gates was left open. (Bad John!) But the boys are still there, waiting for me to go on a walk with them, even when the big wide world was open to them.

  8. One of the dogs always brings me a toy or ball when our serene life gets to be too much for them and they want to include me in an activity. Most of the time they would be plotting my overthrow if they had thumbs and a source of income. But, yes, it is hard when the repairman gets a happier greeting than I get.

  9. I too worry about if they are happy and Bored. But I have to agree with Taryn, my dogs have a great life compared to most of the neighbor’s dogs. And many dogs we have personally known. Being a stay at home dog mom, I am always afraid I’m not entertaining them enough or when I have other things to do I feel a little guilty. My husband tells me I’m crazy all the time and that the dogs are fine!

    So when you start your dog support group-count me in!! LOL

  10. I have met Honey and she is a very happy pup. Is my dog happy? Most of the time. :)

  11. I think you can tell if your dog is happy. Mom says she can tell when we are not happy, frustrated or real happy. Once you know your dog, you can just tell.

  12. I like to think Blueberry is happy! I really don’t think dogs do the comparison tests we as humans do. They know all about the simple pleasures of life. Blueberry doesn’t exactly give me a warm welcome when I come home either. My last dog Shadow would carry on like I had been gone for 2 years if I just went out to get the mail. But Blueberry is just more mellow and content with the knowledge that I’ll return when I return. :)

  13. I wonder this all the time with Tigger, but rarely Mort. He wears his dog emotions on his little furry sleeve. I’m HAPPY! I’m BORED! I’m SCARED! I’m EXCITED AND SCARED! I’m CAUTIOUS! (sometimes). I’M LOVING LIFE!

    Tig is much more understated about her emotions, so I do wonder at times how she’s enjoying things. But I am always looking at them, trying to figure this out – I think it’s one of the great things about sharing your life with dogs, and also why I’m so fascinated by studying dog behavior.

  14. OK, I just read Slimdoggy’s comment and I suspected but now have a good hunch we have the same set of dogs :)

  15. Alfie takes play time very seriously and sometimes when we play tug I could swear he looks at me as if to say – seriously? That all you got? Sometimes makes me wonder if I’m good enough :-)

  16. Sage clearly was getting depressed after I had my accident a month ago. We are always so active and her life changed dramatically overnight. Fortunately, we are almost back to normal and she seems more herself. I don’t think some dogs like big changes in their lives, but with a little work, they adapt. Or things get back to normal….

  17. I kind of think dogs are perfectly capable and willing to let us know when a situation is on the far side of uncomfortable, enough to make them feel anxiety, boredom, hunger, fear, hurt, anger…I think, in fact, most dogs that have had time to study humans, are superbly good at letting their feelings be kniwn, once trust is established. Just because Honey gets excited about a stranger coming into her purvey doesn’t mean she’s unhappy until that occurs. She just likes excitement, don’t you think? We all like something new, surprising…but not all the time, contentment is under rates, except by dogs.

  18. I’m pretty sure Sherman is happy but I’ve always wondered about Leroy. I think Leroy would be happy on a farm.

  19. Aren’t Goldens always smiling? I’ve actually been thinking about this too. I know Linus especially likes spending time with me so I’m trying to plan more activities we can do together like more walks, trips to the park, and play dates with our friends dogs. Stetson loves food so we plan treat based activities for him like K9 Nosework. Adelle is our little puppy in training and she seems to just enjoy attention and lucky for her she gets lots of it since she accompanies us everywhere.

  20. I can see where you’re coming from. Though I think I could always tell whether my dogs were happy or not, whether serene or nuts. I think even laying around and resting can be content and comfy or not.

  21. We have 4 friends staying with us for a while. This is quite a culture shock for all the dogs and me, lol! One friend commented today on how happy Beryl is. Actually Beryl is very easy to please, all she needs is access to my bed! I get a very quick hello when I get home from work then she heads straight up to my bedroom. The dogs would all be happier if I didn’t have to work but if they want a roof over their heads and to eat it’s a necessary evil! I’m sure my dogs are happy enough, and I’m sure Honey is too!

  22. I am always wondering this. I wonder if I’m selfish continuing to see BD but then he is so happy when he does see me. I feel guilty and worry that BD gets more quality one to one time with me but that’s because he will sit and be stroked by anyone whereas Mity will occasionally sit next to you but don’t you dare touch him!! However a lot of it is tied up to my issues and concern, if I just ‘be in the moment’ with them then they are both happy and healthy and that is all that matter really!

  23. I have the same questions about our dogs. Although they show me they love me daily, I measure how much. When I get home, they greet me with enthusiasm and then go about their day. Rodrigo, Sydney and Zoey love being next to me, but sometimes Rodrigo won’t “kiss mommy” and I wonder. And Scout is a love bug when he wakes up in the morning, when I’m about to go to work, when I come home and before he goes to bed. The rest of the time he’s like the Tasmanian Devil and not in the mood for a snuggle, so I wonder.

    Yep, I’m crazy neurotic.