At Christmas time, dogs often enjoy the whole holiday season, excitement, food and good cheer just as much as we do, and often find this time of year very rewarding. If you do celebrate Christmas, this will of course have some level of impact on your dog, whether good or bad-if they are outgoing and fun loving, it is apt to be positive but for dogs that are shy or quiet, it can all be rather stressful.
Many dog owners also include their dogs in the spirit of the festivities too, such as by buying them a present, giving them a special Christmas dinner or otherwise ensuring that they don’t get left out!
Whether you intend to get your dog involved as much as possible or try to avoid changing anything much over Christmas as far as your dog is concerned, it is a nice idea to plan something special for your dog or that you can do with them, just to give them a little extra attention and ensure that they don’t feel left out!
There are a whole range of different things that you can do with your dog over the festive season to take a time out, give them a treat or help to reassure them that they have not been forgotten-and many of these things don’t have to cost you anything but a little bit of time!
In this article we will share our five top picks on good things to do over the Christmas period with your dog, which don’t cost anything but some of your time. Read on to learn more.
One way to please any dog hugely is of course to take them for a walk, and socialising with other dogs along the way is often the highlight of this, as well as being important for every dog’s happiness and the expression of the natural social nature of dogs.
If you have a few friends with dogs, arranging a semi-informal group walk one crisp afternoon when you can all get together is a lovely way to catch up with some of the friends that you might not otherwise see over the Christmas period, and let your dogs make friends and hare about and work off some energy too!
In many areas of the country, local churches, chapels and cathedrals run pet-friendly services, which allow people to take their pets along (usually dogs!) to enjoy the service. Generally of course a church service is not the type of place you would take your dog-but particularly over Christmas you will often find that the local community are invited to take their pets along to share fellowship, and something a little different!
Most dogs have a favourite auntie or uncle who will give them lots of attention, ply them with treats and generally make them feel like the most important dog in the world! Whether your dog’s favourite person bonded with your dog instantly or took a while to trust them and appreciate them, if your dog has a favourite person that they love to spend time with, a pre-Christmas visit to them will likely be really rewarding, for both them and your dog.
As mentioned, dogs never pass up the chance to go for a walk, even if this is only around the block on their usual familiar route. However, taking your dog somewhere different where there are new scents to sniff, new dogs to meet and new paths to find is something that all dogs enjoy, and will make them very happy!
If your dog has a favourite walking spot, this is the obvious choice-but if you’re stuck for ideas, why not take them out in the car to somewhere different, such as the beach or a forest.
Take the time to spend an hour or two just letting your dog explore and work off their energy, before taking them home tired and happy for a good sleep.
If you have some space in your garden and some time and ideas, why not build your dog their own agility-style assault course or play area? This can involve low obstacles such as planks to jump and cones to weave through, or even just turning the earth over in a little-used area of the garden to turn into a digging pit!
Think about what your dog enjoys doing and the types of things that they like, and use what you have to hand to build them an awesome adventure that they can enjoy when they go out into the garden over the festive period, or for the rest of the year too!