By just being their furry, adorable, lovable selves, dogs help us feel beloved and joyful. We provide food, medical care, a home, grooming, toys and other comforts, but what exactly do we do to increase our dog’s happiness quotient? Here’s a list of ways to help improve the value of our dogs’ lives.

Exercise more. Dogs love activity, which is why they go crazy at the very whisper of a walk. Taking your dog on an extra-long hike, joining you on a run, or taking a few short outings in addition to those daily walks will be well received. Look for a place your dog can enjoy a safe off-leash run like a dog park, which will make the experience even more enjoyable for him.

Fight boredom. Give your dog more mental exercise with mind-engaging activities such as new toys, visits to new places, and learning new skills and tricks.

Pet them the right way. Most dogs, like most people, adore a good massage. It not only promotes relaxation, healing and bonding, it feels good.

Stop and smell the world. Dogs need to be dogs, and that means allowing them time to explore the wonderful odors. Using their noses comes naturally, so tracking or playing scent games is fun for dogs.

Consider removing your dog’s collar at night. Dogs will appreciate the freedom plus, the noise of jingling tags bothers many dogs.

Feed them well. While the argument about dog nourishment rages, most people agree that a variety of food, especially if it’s healthy and fresh, has many advantages. Carefully consider what you feed your dog, do some research and ask your veterinarian for help in making good choices.

Good grooming is important; dogs are most comfortable when their coats are orderly and free of any mats that tug uncomfortably at their skin. Short toenails allow for easier movement comfortably. And no matter how cute your dog may look with fur hanging over the eyes, or how popular that style is for the breed, a haircut that allows for unhindered vision is a better and safer.

Make play dates for your dog with other nice, well-socialized pups. Most dogs love to play with other dogs. Also, add more play to your own interactions with your dog.

Dogs love the time we spend focused completely on them, and that’s easiest to do without anyone else present. This quality time is especially valuable and important in multi-dog households. Improving your dog’s quality of life is a gift that keeps on giving.