Joël Dehasse

My Dog is Happy Publication date : January 22, 2009

“You think your dog just wants to sleep on the sofa, eat a bowl of dog food, go out for five minutes three times a day, and then be left in peace to watch television? You almost envy it for being able to sleep, eat, and go for walks without having to worry about the future? But did you know that what you imagine to be joy, happiness and insouciance in your pet is actually a catastrophe for it? Dogs are not meant to be inactive. Genetically and instinctively, they are programmed to do something. Inactivity leads to behavioural problems and psychosomatic disorders. Yet the problem is easy to solve. Easy? Even for apartment dwellers? The answer to both questions is yes,” writes Joël Dehasse.

The average dog needs to exercise six hours a day. Deprived of the calming effects of a long walk in the woods, your dog is likely to succumb to replacement activities that are more or less troublesome for you, your neighbours and your home: incessant howling, gnawing at the feet of your antique commode, chasing joggers and cyclists in the street, etc. Rather than put up with such erratic behaviour, Joël Dehasse urges readers to learn how to redirect their dog's activities in a way that is convenient for them and satisfactory for it.

The method described here shows how you can make your dog happy simply by favouring intellectual activities, since these are, surprisingly, ten times more tiring than physical activities — which are themselves more tiring that vocal activities.

Joël Dehasse's programme combines in varying proportions the six major types of exercise that dogs need daily: feeding activities, motor activities, vocal activities, chewing activities, game playing, and intellectual activities.

Also included here: a hundred exercises that are easy to set up, at home and outside the home, alone or with children, in a garden or simply in the living room.

Joël Dehasse, a Brussels-based veterinarian specialising in cat and dog behaviour, is the author of, most notably, the very successful Tout sur la psychologie du chat (2005; new edition, 2008) and of Mon animal a-t-il besoin d'un psy? (2006).