Friday, February 13, 2015

Gifts For Your Canine Valentine

I have grown to loathe Valentine’s Day. What happened to the cheap, punny cards and chalky candy hearts of my childhood? When did the holiday become so commercialized? Why do you have to go into debt on over-priced flowers and fancy dinners to show someone you love them? It’s awful! Even the pet industry has gotten into the game. But before you spend any money on that heart shaped squeaky toy or rhinestone studded collar, stop and ask yourself: "Why am I doing this?" and "Does my puppy care?" Petsmart says your dog wants this stuff, but I’m sure your dog would rather just have quality time with you. Aren’t dogs great?! Here are 10 simple ways to show your dog you love him without spending a fortune. (BTW, they can be used anytime, not just on Valentine’s Day.)
  • Turn off the TV and step away from the computer. Give your dog your undivided attention. Talk to him. Tell him about your day. He won’t understand the words, but he’ll be thrilled to hear your voice. On the plus side, he’ll always agree with you. According to Jedi: yes, my boss was being unreasonable yesterday and I totally deserve a raise.
  • Be silly. I once read that dogs enjoy a Three Stooges slapstick-type humor. True or not, I believe that dogs do have a sense of humor. I know they respond to laughter. I’m talking about real belly laughs, not that fake stuff you show to the in-laws. (Dogs can tell the difference.) And I may be anthropomorphizing, but I'd swear that dogs smile when happy.
  • Play a game. Fetch, tag, tug-o-war, chase the laser pointer -- it doesn’t matter what you play. Just play. Looking for a new game? PawNation has some fun ideas.
  • Take a walk. I'm not talking about the “hurry up and pee” walk, or the “I need some exercise” walk that we're all familiar with. Take a DOG walk. Put away your cell phone and enjoy the moment. Stop and smell the flowers -- or whatever you feel like sniffing. Your dog will love it!
  • Find the sweet spot. You know what I'm talking about: that one spot that makes your dog’s feet kick and tongue loll? Every dog has one. Pepper’s was at the base of her tail. Logan would actually groan during ear massages. Roxy loves her belly rubbed and Jedi can’t stay still when you scratch his back. Where is your dog’s sweet spot?
  • Go out for a burger. When the weather is nice we like to go to go to Sonic. We’ll sit at a far table under the awning. Hubby and I enjoy people watching while the dogs split a plain cheeseburger and cup of water, no ice. If we go between 2-5 PM I can get a lemon-berry slush for half price! Cheap date, hunh?
  • Set up a play date. Does your dog have a canine BFF? Why not invite the dog and his owner over for some butt sniffing (the dogs) and margaritas (the humans)?
  • Go for a ride. This is one of Roxy’s favorite pastimes. A trip around the block with her head out the window is the Best. Thing. Ever. Want bonus points? End up at the park or pet store.
  • Learn a new trick. This is a great bonding experience for the two of you. Your dog wants to spend time with you. Seeing you happy because he figured out “roll over” will make his day. Need ideas for tricks? Check out Janet Wall's site or one of the many books from Kyra Sundance.
  • Take an afternoon nap together. Spoiler alert: I let my dogs in bed with me. There’s not enough room for two big dogs and two not-so-small humans to fit comfortably all night. However, there is plenty of room for one human and two dogs to enjoy an hour-long nap. I’d like to think that we all benefit from the closeness of sleeping together.
So, are you feeling inspired? GOOD! Now get off the computer and go spend some time with your dog! Come back later and share your favorite things to do with your pooch. Don't forget to hop around and see what others are sharing on this week's Pet Parade! (Click on the icon to take you to the parade.) -- K

P.S. Regular readers will notice this is a recycled post. It's a good one, and I'd rather spend the day playing with the dogs than sitting in front of the computer.