Monday, December 21, 2009

What a dog needs for xmas!

It's the holidays, and because we love our pets, we're planning on giving them special things for xmas. A new toy, a special treat, a new collar. All these things are material, and although certainly wonderful for your dog, don't forget the best gift you can give them. Quality time with you. Now you may say, "but I'm home all the time, and we're together all the time". Yep, and how much of that time is actually interacting with the dog, vs. just "being" together. Although dogs love our company, they also love interacting. That means playing, learning new things, doing what's being asked of them to do. A well balanced dog needs more than just "hang out" time with you. They need and love to do things with you! Walks are great, but make them a bit more challenging by asking them to heel with you, telling them to come for no reason but to get a kiss and continue on. Play "find it' games in the house, where you hide a cookie and tell them to find it (or a toy for those dogs on a diet!). Sign them up for an obedience class. If you've already done obedience, then check out your local obedience schools for "specialty" classes. At AllBreed I offer these on a regular basis. We've got Canine Acting Class, which is getting your dog ready to do commercials and print ad work for companys; therapy dog class, where you can get your dog trained and tested to go visit folks in need of a sweet dog sitting in their lap or one sitting at their side. We have clicker classes, where you can teach your dog a new way to learn. And of course, there are many levels of obedience, including a Master's class to expand and play with your dog's grade level!

Don't forget that they need their brains as well as their bodies worked, and it's oh so much fun for them when they can do it with you. My basset loved her agility class when she was young. My male basset Gus took on therapy as his life's 3rd career. He loved the fact he was with me, but also doing his thing, which was taking care of folks who needed him.

So as the holidays approach, don't forget how much your dog needs you and enjoys doing things with you. It's a special part of the canine/human relationship that sometimes gets forgotten! Love em, kiss em, care for them, but also be more than just a petting machine - play with them interact with them, and watch them shine. Oh, and still get those fun toys and special cookies too!

Have a pawsitively wonderful holiday season - from my pack to all of yours!

Deb, Michael (the husband!), Corky (the yorky) and Everee (the border collie!)