Gifts That Last All Year

Reward your dog for all the joy and love you get all year! Say "Thank You" you with gifts that keep on giving.  Some of these may make you smile — all of them will make your dog smile.

1) Adopt or donate. There is no greater gift. Consider adoption to fill that special place in your forever home, or donate some resources to your local shelter or rescue group.

2) Socialize. Socialize, Socialize! Socialization is the most critical learning activity of all. Begin at 8 weeks of age, if possible. Participate in socialization activities regularly and frequently. Hang out at Starbucks or run errands together.

3) Gentle leashes. A front-clip harness or a step-in for toy breeds is best. Avoid shock, prong and choke collars. These devices are singled out as equipment to avoid by veterinary behavior experts in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 2006 (“Good trainers: How to identify one.” Vol. 1). They can cause a variety of documented medical injuries (“Gentle Leashes,” 2012. Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM) and may cause aggression. They are illegal in a growing number of countries.

Linda Michaels and Oka. "If non-aversive methods work for wolfdogs, killer whales and wild animals at the zoo, it can work for your dog too." Photo Courtesy of the WolfEducationProject.org and Colleen's Custom Pet Photography.

4) Veterinary care. Choose a vet both you and your dog like and trust, one that takes the time to bond with your dog, and practices gentle handling and restraint. Consider integrative care. Ask questions. Spay or neuter. Get that orthopedic bed your dog has been dreaming about.

5) Training. The scientifically endorsed, non-aversive method works for killer whales, wild animals at the zoo and wolfdogs. It can work for your dog, too. It’s effective, long-lasting, safe and fast, as well as truly dog-friendly. Get a private behavioral consultation to target those behavior problems that have cropped up, or enroll in a class.

6) Diet. A super-premium grade food with a specifically named meat as the first ingredient is best. Canine nutritional expert Dr. Doug Knueven DVM, tells us. “There is no greater obstacle to canine health than poor diet.” Venison Holiday Stew (made by Merrick) would be well-received.

7) Exercise. Check out the many great trails, beaches, parks and neighborhoods you can explore together. Consider enrolling in a dog-sport class.

8) Grooming. Choose a groomer who takes the time to make your dog feel safe and practices gentle handling and restraint. Would your dog appreciate a spa massage treatment or a blueberry facial?

9) Environmental enhancement. Rotate food-toys, interactive puzzles and safe chew-items to keep your dog busy and happy. Add a window with a view and dog-friendly landscaping. Don’t forget to provide a quiet place where you dog has sanctuary.

10) Your love. Infuse all the above with your love — the best gift of all.

 Linda Michaels, “Dog Psychologist” M.A. and Victoria Stilwell-licensed Del Mar dog trainer , canine behavioral consultant and speaker, can be reached at (858) 259-9663 or email: [email protected]  for private obedience instruction and behavioral consultations in or near Del Mar or the San Diego Coast. Visit us at DogPsychologistOnCall.com   All rights reserved.

Originally published UT San Diego, Scratch ‘n Sniff. Chris Ross, Editor


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authorname

Positively Expert: Linda Michaels, MA

Linda Michaels is a VSPDT trainer, dog training columnist, and owner of Dog Psychologist On Call in Del Mar, CA. Linda holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology with research experience in Behavioral Neurobiology. She is a Behavioral Advisor for the Wolf Education Project (WEP) in Julian, CA and Art for Barks in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.


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