The 12 dog days of Christmas
Make this Christmas Holiday a special time for your best friend. It is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your dog over the 12 days of Christmas from Christmas Day to 5th January.
December 25th – Make your dog’s day with an exciting Christmas day present of a new toy. Wrap it up and he will love getting the paper off and finding his new toy inside. Give him a festive dinner or treat. Just be careful not to give him anything toxic such as chocolate, grapes or Christmas pudding and mince pies which contain raisins. You can buy special Christmas treats from pet shops.
December 26th – Walk off your Christmas lunch with a Boxing Day countryside ramble. Meet up with other dog owning friends and family and head for the hills.
December 27th – Do you have an elderly neighbour or relative who has not had any visitors over Christmas. Perhaps a visit from you and your dog may be a nice thing to do if your dog is calm and happy to be petted. Elderly people love to stroke dogs which is calming and has a ‘feel good’ factor.
December 28th – Dog walking in these gloomy days and dark nights and mornings, means you need to be seen. Invest in a hi-viz flashing collar to make sure your dog is visible to you and others, especially when walking near traffic.
December 29th – Teach your dog a new game. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell, so encourage the use of their noses with a scent game. These games are mentally stimulating to help keep them calm and ready to settle for a snooze during the festivities. Begin by hiding a treat in one hand and presenting it to your dog to sniff and then ask him find another you have hidden. Another game is to show your dog a favourite toy then put it in a towel and drag around the house and hide it. Start with easy hiding places and give lots of praise when your dog finds the prize.
December 30th – Get prepared for the new year celebrations if you have a dog that is nervous of fireworks. Create a cosy place where he can escape from the noise. Perhaps cover his crate or pet carrier with a blanket and make it cosy with his favourite toys inside. Make sure he has plenty of exercise during the day.
December 31st – Invite some dog owning friends round and have a New Years Eve get-together. If you don’t mind some madness, play some doggy games such as :
Pass The Parcel (expect excitability!)
* Wrap some dog treats in layers of Christmas paper or old newspaper.
* Get some music going and pass the parcel until music stops.
* The dog owner holding the parcel when the music stops gets to unwrap one layer with the dog’s help!
* Keep going and the winning dog is the one who is unwrapping the last layer.
Musical Sits (you will need lots of space for this)
* Scatter hula hoops on the floor (one less than the number of doggy guests)
* Start the music and walk the dogs in a large circle around the hoops. When music stops get your dog to sit in the nearest hoop.
* The dog and owner without a hoop is out of the game.
* Remove a hoop with each round until there is only one hoop and one winner!
January 1st – Make your new year resolution, which could be to take up a new activity with your dog such as agility, or even join a dog charity and take up some fund raising.
January 2nd – Why not hit the online sales and bag a doggy bargain. Buy your dog a new dog bed to start off the new year.
January 3rd – Teach your dog a new trick, or brush up on his basic commands or recall ready for the spring romps in the countryside.
January 4th – Time to spruce up your fur friend after all the fun. Give your dog an all over shampoo and groom. Regular brushing strengthens your bond and keep his coat in good condition. Start a regular regime and set aside time to make grooming a part of your daily routine, especially during the winter weather.
January 5th – Keep your dog looking smart and warm with a new dog coat or jumper. Fleece jackets and jumpers are weather resistant so ideal for keeping warm after exercise or in the wet and cold weather.