It’s that time of year! Traffic jams in packed parking lots, lists of gifts to purchase, gathering ingredients to cook your family’s traditional holiday meal. But do you know what’s different about this year? You have us to help you out. We’ve talked to hundreds of dogs to gather enough information to write this for you. We’re making shopping for your dog easy. We know exactly what they really want for the holidays!
Your dog wants… To play!
Dog’s love to play, some with other dogs, some with their favorite toy, some with the toilet paper in the bathroom. The point is, dog’s love to have fun! How does your dog have fun? And how can you wrap that up and put a bow on it? That’s a rhetorical question.
At Central Bark, play is our middle name! We know that every dog has a preference in how they play, who they play with, and what they find fun. Not every dog loves tennis balls, or even playing with other dogs, but every dog wants to play. So, consider this. How can you gift your dog time to play?
Here are some ideas:
- Enroll your dog in weekly day care to provide them with a fun, social outlet. Same-species play is a powerful way to maintain social skills with other dogs, release energy, and relieve tension.
- Make an enrichment box for them to tear apart. Take a big cardboard box, no labels or tape, cut holes and slots out, throw some of your dog’s toys inside plus a handful of smelly, super exciting treats. Then fold the flaps to close the box and let them have at it. Supervise your dog to make sure they don’t eat any cardboard. They may need some help to get started on opening or tearing the box. Of course, there will be some cleanup, but it’ll be worth it to see your dog play with a big box filled with toys and treats.
- Purchase a fun treat puzzle toy that they can use every day! Anyway, what’s better than a practical gift you can use all the time? Your dog isn’t going to buy it for themselves! Treat puzzle toys can be filled with a small handful of extra special treats or can be used to feed your dog their normal breakfast or dinner. The extra enrichment will fulfill some of your dog’s needs and give you a short respite from keeping them busy or out of trouble while entertaining guests.
Your dog wants… Something tasty!
In fact, we’d be willing to bet the smellier it is, the more they want it. This holiday season, while you’re serving eggnog and sugar cookies to friends and family, why not spoil your dog with a special treat! Stop on in to find the perfect treat for your pup, or if you want to get creative at home, try out this recipe!
- 1 Can of Tuna in Water (3.5oz)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 ½ Cups of Flour
- Preheat your oven to 350°
- Mix the full can of tuna with water and eggs together in a blender or food processor
- Add the flour to the mix and blend until crumbly
- Spread and press the mix evenly in a 9-inch, lightly greased, pan
- Cook for 5 minutes, or until set
- Let cool for 15 minutes
- Remove from the pan and cut into any shape you’d like
- Serve to your adorable drooling dog and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 1 week
Your dog wants… More enrichment!
Whether your dog goes out for daily walks, visits the dog park on weekends, or plays with friends at day care weekly, we can almost guarantee that they’d like just a little more to do! Adding enrichment to your dog’s life can be accomplished in a variety of ways. To make it easy, we’ll share some of our favorite ways with you!
- Add a little fitness to your dog’s exercise routine! Building your dog’s coordination and balance can increase confidence, muscle tone, and joint mobility! We use FitPAWS® equipment and yummy treats to guide dogs into the proper position for rewarding fitness fun. Stop in to see the equipment we use, or to purchase some equipment for home!
- Encourage your dog to use their sniffer. Fun games like “Find It” can be done all over your house and backyard, and equipment like snuffle mats can be used to hide treats. Giving your dog the opportunity to search for food with their powerful snout is a great form of mental stimulation, enrichment, and exercise!
- Go on a dog-guided walk! What does dog-guided mean? It means if Barkley wants to turn left, you turn left. If they want to go forward, you go forward right alongside them. A dog-guided walk in a quiet, safe park or on a trail is a great way to allow your dog to explore. They’ll be using their nose, eyes and ears to investigate the world. And let your dog take their time. A dog-guided walk is more about fulfilling their brain’s needs more than filling their physical exercise quota. Dog-guided walks are a great way for you and your dog to decompress and unwind, together!
Your dog wants… To learn!
Dogs are incredibly capable learners who, with the right environment and reward, can learn dozens of tricks and skills! We put lots of emphasis on engaging a dog’s brain. Part of the way you can do that is by teaching them some simple tricks! Tricks like “Spin” and “Sit Pretty” are cute party tricks that will also exercise your dog’s brain, leaving them just as tired as they would be from running around the park! How is that possible? Well, do you remember what school was like? Gym class and recess were only 30-60 minutes long. What made you so tired at the end of the day, was using your brain power to focus and learn new things. You can teach your dog fun tricks at home, sign them up for fun lessons at day care, or even take a class with them so that you can learn, too!
What your dog really wants for the holidays is to have fun, play games, eat delicious treats, explore, and learn some new things. You have the power to make them the happiest dog in town with this incredible list of gifts to give! We hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Give your dog a woof and a treat from us, at Central Bark!