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Top 10 Holiday Gifts for the Hounds in Your Life

The following post was originally published by Karen on KP’s Dog Blog, December 12, 2007.

And they’re all free!

1.) A long walk every morning. With this gift, your dog is halfway to nirvana. A long walk promotes an enduring sense of well-being and contentment, and it’s great for every dog’s health. Walking together is also key to your bond with your dog.

2.) A calm environment. Pledge never to lose your temper with or in front of your dog. If you’re a drama queen, decide to stop being one now―hey, if I can do it, you can too. Dogs don’t do well with drama. Serenity is more their cup of tea.

3.) A holistic approach to veterinary medicine. Investigate chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, nutrition, and all the other alternatives to the standard drugs and surgery that conventional vets offer. In most cases, these methods are less invasive yet more effective at promoting healing because they get to the root of the problem instead of just masking it or suppressing it.

4.) Commitment. Adopt a dog with the same kind of commitment that you reserve for marriage. You will part company only under the most dire and irreconcilable circumstances. Otherwise, never give up on your dog’s behavior problems―there is an answer out there. You just need to find it and implement it.

5.) Respect. Pledge never to disparage your dog. Don’t believe that your dog can’t understand what you’re saying. We vastly underestimate dogs’ comprehension―often they can pick up on the underlying idea. In all relevant matters, consider your dog’s point of view. This, of course, requires empathy, the ability to put yourself in your dog’s position and see things through his or her eyes.

6.) Quality time. Play a new game, like hide ‘n’ seek. Bring home a new toy or object of interest frequently. You get out more than your dogs do―so bring some of the world back home to them. It can be as simple as a pine cone or as elaborate as a fun, interactive toy from your local pet supply store. Hang out together and focus on Fluffy―don’t let thoughts about work or anything else creep in.

7.) Careful observation. Pay close attention to Fido’s appearance and demeanor. Look at him from all angles (his tummy, his paw pads, under his tail, under his lips). This is the best way to detect health problems early on when they are most treatable and least painful.

8.) Hands-on attention. Dogs are sensual creatures―most of them love to be massaged, scratched, and petted. Caress or scratch them the way they like it, not the way you like it. Some dogs like a good hard scratch on the butt, while others like a medium scratch on the chest. Some love a gentle caress, while others like a deep-tissue massage. Find out what pleases your dog.

9.) Some silliness. Dogs are never more photogenic than when they are being silly―a photo captures the sheer pleasure of playtime on their faces. So join them! Even initiate it. Get down on the floor and do a play bow. Find out what gets your dog in a goofy mood and do it every day.

10.) Unconditional love. Love your dog with the fullness of your heart, with every fiber of your being, every hour of every day. Dogs’ lives pass much too quickly, and before you know it, it’s time to say goodbye. Don’t waste a single moment!

These are all gifts that money can’t buy, yet they are the gifts that your dog will appreciate the most. Happy holidays!

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  • paz says:

    Than you very much for your post. I am new in peta organization, but really I always thought in som things similar to apply , but you all know more than me in these particulars.
    So thank you, and congratulations. 3th december is my birthday and Tom too…!!! He is a little beat…bigger…he is a spanish mastin, but so loving too!!
    so we both thank you very much, any gift better than this.

    paz, from Spain.

  • dizi izle says:

    i do 5 out of 10 (:

  • Amy Walsh says:

    I love Beagles! About 10 years ago our family adopted an old Beagle named Alvin from the SPCA and he brought immense joy to our lives. He had such expression and compassion. Sadly, he passed away last year so the advice to cherish every moment with your companion is very true! Thank you for posting this 🙂

  • Trainerpack says:

    Love the pup!

  • Barbara says:

    Thanks for the advice. Very true indeed!
    Some months back I adopted a beautiful little dog, and besides stealing my heart, she is so happy when we go out and when we’re together. She loves it when I run my fingers very softly through her back, she just closes her eyes and looks like she’s in ecstasy!
    All they ask for and want is a little attention, time and love and they’ll give you back tons more.
    To you and all, have the Merriest Christmas ever!

  • Kathrin says:

    Thanks for this wonderful and charming blog. It’s so true that the best things in life are free. My sorority sister has brought her amazing dog Lucas from back home to live with us, he is such a joy and brings so much more harmony to our home.


  • Carlina Gavin says:

    Great ideas….

  • Anja says:

    Great advice:) Happy holidays to you too:)

  • Laura says:

    Excellent advice….thanks sooo much and Happy holidays too 🙂

  • Evelyn says:

    KP, your blog entries are splendid, some of the best advice about caring for dogs I have ever seen. Thanks for this wonderful resource, and for the emphasis you place on unconditional love and lots of walking and attention. I have a friend who has given his dachshund just this kind of care and love throughout his life, and as a result his dog has never even needed formal training and has never exhibited any behavior problems. Thank you again for your wonderful blog.