7 ways to give your dog a very happy Christmas – and most of them won’t cost you a penny!
Christmas is an exciting time for humans and is also a time when we can do something special for the dogs in our lives. Christmas is a time that we can show our dogs how loved and appreciated they are. Vicky Carne, The Dog Coach, shares her ideas to give your dogs the Christmas Day they deserve.
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Just because you're planning a Champagne brunch, doesn't mean your dog will be happy to skip breakfast. Maybe one member of the family should be given responsibility for checking the dog's not been forgotten, and that they're not getting into trouble stealing food that might be dangerous or chewing presents left lying around.
Some dogs love being part of any excitement going. Others not so much. Make sure your dog has access to a quiet comfortable corner if they need a break.
3. FOOD TREATS
Food is a large part of our Christmas Day, don't leave your dog out. Perhaps start their day off with a frozen stuffed Kong. It will keep your dog happily occupied while you get on with your own food prep.
Let them unwrap their own presents - much like toddlers, the paper and boxes they come in can be as rewarding as the contents. Don't forget crackers. The inner tube from a kitchen roll, filled with a few treats or a toy, wrapped up with paper twists at the end makes a Christmas cracker fit for any dog to tug, chew and eventually eviscerate.
5. YOUR ATTENTION
Whether it's playing games or spending time stroking and talking to them – take the cue from your dog – your attention is what your dog really wants (although, that piece of turkey you mentioned would be good too ...).
6. GO ON A SNIFFARI
Yes, it is a thing! Your dog's main sense of the world comes through their nose. Today in particular, let your dog be a dog. Don't hustle them along on a walk – let them choose the route and give them time to sniff the environment, the trees, the lampposts.
7. ENTERTAINING THEMSELVES
Give your dogs something to keep their brains and noses enjoyably occupied. There are any number of puzzle toys, snuffle mats, treat dispenser balls and electronic devices available. Or make your own. This is where the recycling – the acres of wrapping paper and empty boxes – come into their own: hide treats in scrumpled up paper on the floor or in a dog-sized box.
You'll find lots of ideas for things to make, cook and do with dogs and kids throughout the holidays in Dog Home School for Kids from The Dog Coach Online. Wishing all of you and your dogs a very Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.
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This article was written by Vicky Carne, founder of The Dog Coach. Contact Vicky via the website for more information or to book an appointment.
Following a career in publishing and technology, Vicky’s lifelong interest in animal behaviour led her to the study of modern dog training methods, and she has now spent over a decade as a dog trainer. She has run puppy classes, had many puppies to stay for board and training, and worked one-to-one with hundreds of dogs and their owners. Her focus has always been on helping owners quickly learn what they need to know when they bring a new puppy or older dog into their home.
With that in mind, a couple of years ago, she published her first online courses for new puppy owners. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the greater need for online training, she is now also publishing courses by other leading dog trainers, supported by her through online groups. Her mission is to help busy families become trained, happy owners enjoying life with their happy, trained dogs.
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