The weather has turned crisp and there’s a certain feeling in the air, which can only mean one thing: the holiday season is here. The Christmas countdown has already begun, and everyone is preparing to get together with their families and friends to enjoy some quality time and special traditions. If you have a canine counterpart, your furry friend is going to love all the extra love and attention he gets from you and your friends and relatives during the holiday season.
As a special member of your family, you’re probably eager to spend time with your pet and include them in your Christmas activities. We’ve got plenty of ideas for you so sit back, tune in to some puppy-themed Christmas songs and read on for five awesome activities that you can enjoy with your pet this Christmas.
A Walk To See The Christmas Lights
When it comes to dog friendly winter fun, nothing beats a cosy stroll around the neighbourhood to take in the Christmas lights. The Christmas atmosphere is amazing when there are lights and other holiday decorations all around you. It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside, everyone can feel warm and jolly when surrounded by festive decorations.
Christmas is the perfect time to take your dog for a walk around the neighbourhood. Not only will they get exercise, but you can spend some quality time together. Remember these tips when taking your dog for a Christmas lights walk:
Change your route. You probably have a familiar dog walking route that you take every time. For a special Christmas lights walk, change your routine so you and your dog can both experience something new. The aim is to see some Christmas lights and decorations, so do some prior research to find out where the most impressive displays are in your neighborhood. You may even like to drive to a new area and take a walking tour together before driving back home.
Use a short dog leash. Having a short leash will give you more control. You should always attach the leash to very top of the neck, so you can easily guide, communicate, and gently correct your furry friend. If your dog is not used to walking nicely or if you’re having trouble controlling them, consider using a safety harness to give you even more control over your dog’s entire body. Remember to keep your dog’s safety paramount, and ensure the collar is a good fit and the leash isn’t likely to break or slip off.
Time your walk perfectly. Walking in the morning may give you a little more time to enjoy with your pooch, but an evening walk may be more enjoyable with the Christmas lights turned on. On especially cold days, put a coat on your dog to keep him comfortable. Talk to your vet if you’re not sure how much exercise your dog should be getting.
Reward your dog’s good behaviour during the walk. Walking nicely is important, but allow your dog some opportunity to sniff and have a bathroom break. It’s up to you when reward time is over, and how often you take breaks.
Always pick up after your dog! It’s common courtesy to make sure your dog hasn’t left a mess in public areas, but leaving behind your dog’s waste may be against the law in your area.
Follow up with rest or playtime. With the age, breed, and temperament of your dog in mind, choose an activity for after the walk. A younger dog or highly energetic breed would love some playtime after you return home, while an older or more sedate dog will be looking for a cosy place to rest.
Christmas-Themed Hide And Seek
Playing games with your dog is a great way to bond while helping your dog use his communication and memory skills. You want the game to be fun and mentally challenging for your favorite pet.
For example, you can hide treats while your dog is in another room. Then bring your dog back into the room and have him hunt down the treats by following his nose or by watching where you’re pointing. If this is too difficult for your dog, try hiding the treats while your dog is watching, then take him away from the room for a short period of time. After a few minutes, bring him back in and let him try and remember where you hid every treat. He’ll enjoy the challenge, and you’ll enjoy watching him play. It can be very rewarding when your dog manages to get every treat you hid.
Christmas decorations inside the house can pose additional risks for your dog, especially during a game of hide and seek. Follow these simple tips to ensure a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season for your pet.
There are a number of other games you can play with your dog that will make him work hard while playing hard at the same time. These can include games such as fetching a squeaky Christmas toy, or playing tug-of-war. Just keep the safety of your pet in mind, and always remove tags and labels from toys before giving them to your dog.
Open Gifts With Your Pet
Just like you get presents for your family and friends, you can get small presents for your dog, such as a new chew toy, doggie treats, or more practical items like a new leash, a new collar, or even dog clothes. For some dogs, the privilege of tearing the wrapping paper off their own gifts will be far more exciting than the gift itself.
Of course, your choice of gift is really more for you than for your dog. Whatever you decide to get them, your dog will enjoy the excitement that comes from being included in your family tradition and the fact that they get to be with you during this special time.
Volunteer With Your Furry Friend
Dogs can be silly, loyal, and comforting. They bring happiness to our everyday lives and help us manage to get through difficult days. While our pets belong to us, we can help them share their happiness with other people through volunteering. There are a number of ways you can help your dog spread peace and joy during the holiday season.
A moment of therapy. You can visit a medical facility or even make home visits with your dog as a therapy pet. This can help patients who used to have their own animals and makes their days brighter as their memories are stirred.
Enjoying a story and cuddle. Canine reading programs are another great way to volunteer. Certain places will allow you to bring in your pet during story time. This can be in either a private room or in a circle that has a bunch of pets and people. Telling stories is a great way to bring laughter and smiles to people and having a pet there will make them even better.
Charity race or fun run. Keep an eye out for a local walk or race for charity that you can compete in with your pet. Not only will this help you and your dog stay physically and emotionally active, it will let you spend time together while helping raising money for various different organizations.
Take Photos And Make Your Own Christmas Cards
For many people, the annual Christmas card involves much anticipation and planning. As people compete to create the funniest and most original homemade Christmas cards every year, you may be looking for a new idea for this year’s card. If you’re planning to make your own Christmas cards to send out to family and friends, don’t forget to include your furry friend. You can come up with a design that integrates your family and your pet into one cute Christmas card.
Whether you opt for a sentimental shot that shows how cute and photogenic your dog is or a dress-up role-play scene, your dog will love the attention and the chance to spend time with you. You’ll need plenty of patience and the willingness to improvise if things don’t go strictly to plan.
No matter the activities you choose, by spending time with your pet and including him in your Christmas traditions you’ll create special memories that will last you right through until next Christmas.
About The Author:
James Woller is a long-time dog enthusiast, and owner of Release the Hounds and Jet Pet Resort, professional dog walking and boarding companies in Vancouver, Canada. On his days off from running his companies, he enjoys learning and writing about topics that are of interest to caring pet owners.