Trainer reveals three things your dog needs from you to be happy and healthy - and they’re so easy!

A close of a smiling dog lying on his back on grass
(Image credit: Getty)

Like most pet parents, keeping your dog happy and healthy is likely high on your priority list. But with so much conflicting advice out there, it can be hard to know what the magic ingredients are to actually achieve this!

Some people stock up on the longest lasting dog chews and the best dog food, while for others it's all about investing in the comfiest dog bed that money can buy. However, if a recent Instagram post by dog trainer Liz Foley is anything to go by, we might all be barking up the wrong tree.

According to Foley, there are three things our dogs need us to be in order for them to thrive. "I want you to close your eyes and think of your favourite teacher in grade school. What we’re they like?," she asks. "Most likely they were a combination of these 3 things: firm, fair and fun."

Foley goes on to break down what she means by each of the above in her post and while you can check this out in full, we've summarized the main points for you here:

1) Firm: "Dogs respect authority," Foley explains. "Make sure you're the leader and uphold consistent rules."

2) Fair: "Be reasonable with your expectations or you and your dog."

3) Fun: "Play is a great way to bond," says Foley. "Our dogs are great teachers in how to loosen up."

Foley shares a story in her post about her favorite teacher when she was at school. What was it about him that made her love him so much? "I can remember so clearly when someone would be talking in class and he would stop and say “EXCUSE ME” in a firm tone. There would be silence. Then he would smile crack a joke and go back to teaching. To me that’s leadership. Cool. Calm. And consistent."

According to Foley, we should adopt the same approach when it comes to our dogs - being firm when we need to be, remembering fairness and always remembering to bring the fun. Keeping these three things in mind will help strengthen the bond you share with your dog and keep them feeling happy and healthy. 

Enjoyed this piece and looking for more great canine content? Then be sure to check out our guide to can dogs laugh where we reveal how you can tell if your dog is having fun. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.