We all get caught up in the frenzy of the holidays … parties, shopping, cooking and more. We usually stress ourselves out to the point where we’re exhausted by New Year’s if not before!
For dog lovers such as myself some of our most treasured members are our dogs. To make your holiday season less worrisome, we’ve found some great dog present ideas for your pampered pooch. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your computer because these all can be purchased online… no tiresome Black Friday crowds for you!
Interactive Dog Toys
Does your dog get bored when you’re not around? Suffer from separation anxiety? These dog treat toys will keep him occupied for ours and will challenge him both mentally and physically:
- Kong Genius Leo – $7.58. The KONG Genius Leo is named in honor of genius Leonardo Da Vinci and is designed to stimulate a dog’s curiosity and hold its attention.
- Kong Genius Mike – $6.93. The GeniusMike toy is made of a durable, non-toxic, FDA food-approved TPR material, these toys are perfect for average chewers. Link together the Mike and Leo toys.
- Kong Wobbler – $10.99. This toy can create hours of fun once it is filled with delicious treats. It wobbles, spins and rolls dispensing food along the way.
- Busy Buddy Tug a Jug – $9.69. This interactive dog toy provides multi-sensory appeal to keep your pet engaged.
- Bob-A-Lot – $9.97. Trying to get your dog to eat slower … have him work for it. Sizes small – large.
- Talk to Me Treat Ball – $14.24. Record a message to your dog so he won’t miss you so much when you are gone. Also dispenses treats.
- Nina Ottoson’s Interactive Puzzles – Starting at $13.20. A busy mind makes for a happy pet. A large selection of dog games and puzzles from easy to advanced.
Does your dog love to retrieve balls and Frisbees but you run out of steam before he does? Check these out … from the inexpensive to the higher tech.
- Chuck It – $4.99. Save your arm strength. This simple plastic toy allows you to throw a ball up to 400 feet!
- iFetch – $115. This indoor or outdoor toy does all the throwing for you, launching balls 10, 20 or 30 feet. Battery operated and up to 30 hours of play time.
Maksim’s Favorite Dog Treats
- Plato Salmon Strips – $5.31. Dogs love fish – Plato’s Natural Salmon Strips are made with only the best fresh Pacific Salmon and other organic, natural, premium ingredients.
- Blue Buffalo Joint Sticks – From $16.99. Blue Buffalo Joint Sticks are really tasty, all natural chew treats that help support your furry friend’s joint health. Plus, all that happy chewing will help freshen his breath.
And the very best dog present? I might be biased but a dog training lesson from Greg Knows Dogs will help you both. See your dog wants to please you, he just doesn’t know how. I can teach you how to communicate with your dog, so he understands your commands in a language he speaks. Once you two are on the same page, your holiday season will be quieter (no obsessive barking) less destructive (no chewing wrapping paper and bows) and calmer (no jumping on guests).
For a safe holiday season, purchase a gift certificate from Greg Knows Dogs by calling 614-859-0612.
With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it would be helpful to spend some time on reducing stress for you and your dog during this chaotic season. One way to reduce your stress is to be aware of dangerous holiday decorations and plants.
Good Greeting and Door Manners
Most of us have more visitors over the holidays — so calm and friendly greetings are very important. Make sure your dog has good door manners; start practicing them now if he doesn’t. My clients who are most successful with door manners practice this very, very often. You can also give your dog an extra long walk to tire him out.
Reducing Dog Stress
• Routine and exercise. Although a tired dog is a good dog, it’s also important to reduce stress by keeping a regular feeding and exercise schedule. My advice is to increase the exercise but try to keep it at the same time of day. Don’t skip his walks because you’re busy.
• Quiet. Does your dog have a crate or bed in a safe, quiet place? Dogs need to have a place to retire when they’re tired of our shenanigans. And instruct young children to stay away from the quiet place when your dog is resting.
• Calming. During the holidays I use a pheromone collar on Maksim to reduce his anxiety. The collars last 30 days so you can cover the holiday season with one collar. I like the Sentry Calming Collar and the DAP collar by Adaptil.
• Water. Dogs pant a lot when stressed; be sure to keep the water bowl full. And that means you will also want to let him have more frequent toileting opportunities.
• Table scraps. Your guests may be tempted to feed your dog some of the tasty food they’re enjoying. This could upset your dog’s stomach so be sure to review the canine rules with your guests.
One of your rules may be to close the door each and every trip out or in the door. You may even insist on ringing the bell each time so that you can practice your door manners. And I think it’s really important to have rules for this if you don’t have a storm door.
At Greg Knows Dogs, we want you to have a FUN and safe time with your dog. No trees falling over, no ornaments broken and no stomach aches!
In August, I gave some suggestions for getting your dog ready for a new baby. Now, it’s time for the introduction of the newest pack member to your dog.
Many parents are nervous about how their dog will react to the newborn. Your dog can sense this, so project calmness. Be sure to praise all positive interaction with your baby. You may even want to use small treats to reward your dog for successful interactions. Zuke’s Mini Naturals and Blue Buffalo’s Blue Bits are natural, soft treats that I frequently use.
When you and the baby’s entourage arrive home, allow all guests to go in the house first. If your dog is an exuberant greeter he can share his excitement with the others before meeting your baby. (By the way, I can help you with door manners.) Put your dog on a leash and let him sniff your baby while you’re holding the baby. You may want to stand if you have a tall dog or a jumper. You and the baby can be seated for sniffing if your dog is well-behaved. A handler can use the leash to lead your dog away if he’s too exuberant.
You may want to limit the initial sniffs to a few seconds and allow more time together after you feel calm and confident. Reward your dog frequently with praise and/or treats for all calm, controlled interactions. You might also ask your dog to sit/stay or down/stay in the baby’s presence several times a day.
If your dog appears nervous, don’t force the interaction. You might try a pheromone collar for the first month or two. Or you can try to create a more positive association with the baby’s noises. Play with your dog or toss a treat when the baby makes a sound that seems to bother your dog. You’re trying to create a positive association when the baby cries.
I generally discourage parents from leaving babies and children alone with dogs. Children don’t understand dogs’ warnings which may heighten the dog’s displeasure. I recommend crating or putting up a gate when a parent needs to leave the room. I also think crating is good for feeding and changing time.
I hope these tips help you keep harmony in your pack and make bringing home baby a fun event!