Dogs have been a part of human families for a very long time. They receive a lot of love and attention, and they are increasingly included in family gatherings and holiday celebrations.
As you are planning something special for Valentine’s, consider including your dog as well. We must, however, keep in mind that this adopted family member is of a different species, and as such, they have their own species-specific needs and wants.
With that in mind, here are 7 ways to include your dog on Valentine’s Day. Remember that what they’ll love most is that you are spending quality time with them.
Take Your Dog For A Long Walk
Dogs enjoy taking walks because they give their nose a workout. Their powerful nose, which may be forty times more sensitive than ours, finds the outside world to be a fascinating playground of different smells.
While on a walk and using their scent, dogs are also stimulating their minds by figuring out the environment around them – Who passed by here? Is that what it had for lunch? This rabbit is not far away!
We all understand the benefits of exercise, and taking your dog for a walk is one of the best activities you can give them. Walking will help reduce and prevent obesity, which veterinarians are increasingly concerned about. Another point is that long periods of inactivity can harden the joints, but walking will exercise and keep joints healthy. Also, walking helps regulate your dog’s digestive system.
Be aware of the distance and pace your dog can walk. It will depend on the age, breed, and health of each individual. In general, puppies can exercise 5 minutes for each month of age, twice a day. For example, a 3-month-old puppy will need a 15-minute walk twice a day. But since this theory is not rocket science, it is better to talk to a veterinarian about your dog’s specific needs.
Host A Dog Valentine’s Party
It’s all about socialization! In fact, dogs should start socializing when young puppies. And what a pleasure it is to maintain that socializing at gatherings and events! How about you hosting a party?
To keep the fun rolling you can:
Do a version of the chair game: the fur babies have to be on a leash with their human. Play some music and everybody starts walking in one big circle. After a couple of seconds, stop the music. Everybody must stop walking and the pet parents tell their fur babies to sit. The last one to sit is out. Keep on going until there is just one winner!
Run to the finish line: this activity also requires that the pups be leashed. Each pet parent holds a spoon with a dog treat in it while holding the leash in the same hand. Ready? Set? Go!!! Pet parents and their pups have to run to the finish line without dropping the treat. The first to cross the finish line wins. If one treat is too easy, try with two, three, or more treats in the spoon.
Hide some toys, treats, or toys with treats in them for a good treasure hunt.
Set up a small agility course with tunnels, jumps, and ramps for a competition. You can buy agility obstacles online or improvise with chairs and blankets for tunnels; books and a flat board for a ramp; books and a broom for a jumping obstacle. Who finishes the obstacle course in less time wins!
Take party-themed photos of your guests and their pooch. You can even have them wear a themed hat, glasses, or wigs!
fill up a kid’s pool and throw some plastic toys in for the dogs to fetch in the water.
fill up a kid’s pool with plastic balls and hide treats for the dogs to find among the balls.
Caution: Always supervise the fur babies at the party, especially when toys and treats are involved. Just like kids, dogs can get into disagreements and end up fighting.
Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Dogs love to learn. You can teach them a lot more than the basic sit, down, stay.
Fetch – sit on the floor with a toy. Offer the toy to your dog and when he gets it you say the cue word “get it” or “fetch”. Now put the toy on the floor in front of you and say the cue word. When your dog gets the toy, praise him. Slowly increase the distance between you and the toy. When you throw the toy further from you, say the cue word and as soon as your dog gets the toy, you start calling him back, clapping, and banging on the floor if needed, but you want to call your dog’s attention to you. You can also run backward so the dog has to make an extra effort to come to you. When he does (with the toy in his mouth), praise and give him a treat.
Clean up – you can teach your dog to put away his toys in a box or basket! If your dog knows the fetch command, this is a fun follow-up. Throw a toy across the room and tell him to fetch it. While he is bringing it back to you, you hold a treat over the toy box or basket. Tell your fluff to drop it, and once he drops it into the container, say the cue word “clean up”, praise, and give him a treat. Repeat this several times. Now, instead of telling him to drop it, you will say “clean up”. When he drops the toy in the container, praise him and give him a treat.
Hold it – teach your dog to balance a treat on his nose. With your dog sitting in front of you, touch the top of his nose briefly while saying the cue word “hold it”. When you release your hand say “okay”, praise him, and give a treat. Note that “okay” is the cue word for the activity to be finished. Repeat several times. Now place a small object on top of his nose and say “hold it”. After a few seconds say “okay” while removing the object, praise, and give a treat. Now step up the game with food. Start with something not so tasty for your dog like a piece of carrot. Slowly increase the seconds he has to stay with the food on his nose. Now try with a dog cookie or tastier treats. Remember to always say “okay”, praise, and give a treat when the activity is done.
Remember that it takes time for dogs to master some tricks. Patience and repetition are essential to help your pup to succeed.
Have a Nice Playing Time With Your Dog
There is nothing your dog loves more than spending quality time with you. Quality time means that you are not distracted by your cell phone, the TV, or work. It means that your attention is exclusively on your dog.
Here are some ideas:
- tug-of-war (for puppies, please do not pull the object, but simply hold it while your dog is pulling. This is to avoid any accidents with their milk teeth).
- fetch with a toy, ball, or frisbee.
- hide-and-seek by hiding yourself somewhere and calling your dog’s name. You will love to see the spark in his eyes when he finds you!
- set up an obstacle course resembling agility for your dog. Animal Wellness Magazine has a great article on a DIY indoor obstacle course, to go there click here.
- get puzzles designed for dogs which are great for mental stimulation. That brings us to our next point:
Get Your Dog A New Toy
Let’s face it: dogs have a low attention span. That is why most dog trainers advise keeping training sessions short, like 10 minutes tops for each activity.
Toys can be fun and entertaining, but dogs will get bored of them real quick. The trick is to give one toy at a time, and not all at once.
Getting a new toy will spike up your dog’s curiosity, and there are some very clever toys designed for dogs that will make them engage longer. We have prepared a list of some of the best dog toys. Just click on the link below for more information.
12 Best Toys To Keep Your Puppy or Adult Dog Busy and Entertained
Bake Or Buy Extra Treats
For Valentine’s Day, you can get that extra yummy treat your furry friend loves so much. Or, you could adventure into making fresh homemade dog treats for your pooch. Even though the ingredients used in the recipes below are safe for dogs according to holistic veterinarians, we encourage you to check with your dog’s vet.
Sesame seeds cookies: lightly roast sesame seeds and crush them into almost a powder. Pour honey enough to make the seeds stick to each other and flatten them thin. Cook in a medium-hot oven. Let it cool and cut it into squares.
Apple and Banana Cookies: 1 cup of applesauce without sugar. You can make applesauce by cooking one unpeeled apple with a little bit of water on the stove. One cup of chopped bananas. 1 and ½ cups of coconut flour. 1 teaspoon cinnamon. 1 egg. Mix all the ingredients together, and flatten the dough on a baking tray. Bake at 350 F (170 C) for 15 minutes. Cut into small pieces. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Tuna and Cheese Treat: ( if you are concerned about high levels of mercury in tuna fish, you can use sardines instead) preheat the oven to 320 F (160 C) 1 can of tuna fish (or sardines), 7 oz (200 grams) of cottage cheese or parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, 3 oz (80 grams) of tapioca flour or almond flour, and water. Blend all the ingredients together. Add water to make it thicker. Spread the batter flat on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Let it cool and cut it into small pieces.
Snuggle Up To Watch A Movie
Granted, this will be more fun for the human parent than for the fur baby. But after a good evening walk where your pup gets a chance to release some energy, he will likely be glad to rest by your side. Why not get the opportunity to watch a nice dog-themed movie? Check out this list of films you can’t miss!
Best Dog-Featured Movies or Movies With Dogs To Cuddle Up And Watch
Including your dog on Valentine’s Day is easy once you know what your special friend enjoys doing.
From long walks to snuggling on the couch, there is always an interesting activity for any type of dog. We have listed some ideas above, but you can get creative and expand it to better shape how you want your Valentine’s Day to be. Just remember to include the little furry one who loves you unconditionally.
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