August is a banner month for our adventurous canine companions. August 10 has been designated National Spoil Your Dog Day, and August 26 is National Dog Day! What a great excuse to celebrate our beloved four-legged friends.
Is it really OK to spoil your dog? That depends on what you mean. It’s true that dogs do best when they have a clear understanding of what to expect and what is expected of them. So deciding to throw all your old rules and routines out the window may not be the best strategy. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dote on them, provide for them, and yes, even spoil them, within reason. (One big no-no in the “spoiling” realm is over-feeding – make sure your dog is getting the right amount of food and treats to maintain a healthy weight. Ask your veterinarian if you’re unsure!)
Looking for some ideas to get you started on celebrating your pup? Look no further.
Have an Adventure
Of course this is the first item on our list! Now is a great time to commit to finding a new and exciting place to adventure with your curious canine. While staying safe is important, both in terms of summer conditions and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this shouldn’t put a damper on your fun. We’ve talked before about ways to find new adventuring spots – now’s your chance! Strap on your dog’s Happy Harness, and head out for some fun.
Buy a New Toy or Equipment
Your dog may have a beloved favorite chewy toy or a blanket they just love to recline on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t splurge on something new. Dogs also thrive on novelty – just look at how they perk up when you unbox a new squeaky toy (or your own delivery packages in some cases!).
If you don’t want to break the bank with a bunch of expensive new toys, you can also take advantage of the fact that, at some point, even an old toy can feel new for your dog! If you take a toy out of your dog’s environment for a week or two and then reintroduce it, that can be as exciting as a brand-new one for them.
You can also make lots of great stuff for your dog. Consider making interactive toys from scratch. Happy Harness inventor Joan Hunter Mayer has offered some great ideas in this blog post on the Inquisitive Canine website. You can fashion a comfy new dog bed out of old pillows or blankets too! Spoiling doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank.
Teach Your Dog Something New
Dogs aren’t materialistic by nature. Often what they want more than anything else is something to do with their brains, and to interact with their humans. You can combine these two great loves by working on new training skills with your dog. Pick a new trick or work on honing an existing skill. Always remember to bring your patience, sense of humor, and some delicious treats to every training session. Your dog will thank you for it!
Pay Attention to What Your Dog Really Wants
Sometimes we think we know what our dogs like, but they’re actually just tolerating the experience. The easiest way to know for sure is to become fluent in reading your dog’s body language. They are talking to us all the time, they just don’t have quite the same vocabulary as us humans, so we have to learn “Dog-lish.” This will allow you to see what actually gets your dog jazzed, and what is just so-so. Once you know, you can make sure that everything from petting to games to activities is really lighting up your dog’s life.
Enjoy These Dog Days!
Remember: Don’t wait for these special days to come around each year. Every day is a chance to relish your wonderful canine companion and the bond you share.
Here’s to unleashing adventure and harnessing fun for all of your wonderfully spoiled dogs.