Instead of Buying a Dog as a Christmas Gift, Buy a Christmas Gift
for a Dog.
Dogs make terrible Christmas presents. That cute puppy that the
kids squeal and fuss over on Christmas morning is so often forgotten
and pushed aside by Valentine's Day. Even if someone really, really wants
a dog, they should be present to choose their own, not have one handed
to them as a surprise.
So instead of puppies as Christmas gifts buy dog-related presents
like leads and collars, dog training books, puppy training kits, nylabones
or teething toys and tell your kids that if they read the training books,
watch the training dvds and prove themselves responsible that you'll
go together to the shelter in March and take your pick of all the Christmas
puppies that were dumped there almost as soon as the decorations came
Here are some ideas for gifts for and about dogs and puppies whether
you are buying them for your own four legged friend or for someone else's.
Board games have always been both an
excellent way to spend some family time and a great way to encourage
to learn and analyse. Doggone is
a fun and quick moving game that encourages an understanding of
dog's behaviour and body language,
while in Dogopoly you
are bidding for dog breeds instead of houses, you get paid $200
when you pass 'Go Fetch' or get fined $200 for having
... and other
doggie twists on one of the world's favourite games.
Kongs are the king of dog toys, made
of durable rubber, designed to promote healthy teeth and gums and
a hollow interior to stuff with enticing treats they are ideal
for keeping an active dog busy and entertained. Kong now covers
variety of toy types from the puppy and extreme
kongs shown here
to kongs designed for scent
training or to glow-in-the-dark.
One clever innovation is the Kong
Timer which dispenses filled kongs
at regular intervals - a good way to keep your dog out of mischief
when you have to be away for the day (and MUCH less expensive than
a new sofa!).
If anyone were to ask which books I'd
recommend for dog-owners or dog-owners-to-be, I'd say anything by
Dr. Ian Dunbar or Jean Donaldson. Dr. Ian Dunbar's Sirius Training
Technique is wholly positive and his books present a wealth of knowledge
in a warm and friendly way. Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash is not
so much a training handbook but more of a road map to understanding
a dog's behaviour and in human eyes 'mis' behaviour such as aggression
and resource guarding. Rounded off with a solid chapter on Obedience
Training and proofing techniques, Culture Clash is as fascinating
as it is a dog lover's bible.
Other dog books and writers to consider are:
Behaviour and Training - another excellent book by Dr. Ian
Dunbar. According to Dunbar euthanasia for behavioural problems
is the number one pet killer. This book addresses the most common
behaviour problems and how to solve them - a sanity saver of a
book for frustrated owners and possibly a life saver for their
Other End of the Leash - by Patricia McConnell whose dog
behaviour and communication training courses are respected around
the globe. If you ever wondered why your dog looks at you as if
you are speaking double Dutch, it may just be becasue you are not
communicating in Canine.