I was at a Home Dog Training session in Buckhead with a new client and her 10 month old Aussiedoodle named “Mad” Max. Max was somewhat of a handful when I first got there. He wasn’t listening and loved to steal anything that was on the floor or low enough for him to jump and retrieve. He was my client’s first dog and she just needed direction on the right things to do to have Max understand that she was the boss of the house. It didn’t take long to have Max obeying my client and giving her the proper focus when she needed it. She was very happy with the results and looked forward to use what she had learned to help Max be a good companion and member of the family. As we were finishing up, she had another question. Her boyfriend was going to be out of the country on business on Valentine’s Day and she thought it would be fun to have Max be her Valentine. She never had “a dog as a Valentine”, so she wondered what she could do to make the day special while maintaining the training we just completed.
I told her that Max really doesn’t understand about Valentine’s Day. To him, it is just another day that he is sharing with her. On the other hand, she understood that Valentine’s Day was a special day built around the celebration and encouragement of positive relationships. The great news for both of them was that “building a strong relationship” is key in having a great dog and having a great time on Valentine’s Day. It is a “win-win” for everybody. I gave her a list of options that could fit the occasion while maintaining a positive human-canine relationship:
- Think about giving Max a “Pet Spa Day”. Yes, I know this may sound a little weird, but it is simply “going to the groomers on steroids”. Believe it or not, an aromatherapy spa treatment will relax and positively comfort Max. You could begin with a warm bath and blow dry, and wind up with a soothing and relaxing massage. “Mad” Max will come out of it happy and rejuvenated.
- Going somewhere different with just Max is also a great diversion. Getting out of town with Max allows you to bond and enjoy an entirely new place in the process. You could go somewhere close like a weekend cabin in Cleveland where you and he can take walks, sit on the porch, or just hang out by the fire. There are “dog friendly” cabin rentals that are available and sometimes don’t charge “extra dog fees”.
- Our coaches used to tell us to “take a lap”. Well, when it comes to Max, share some exercise. A well paced walk and a picnic at the local dog park is a great way to burn energy and spend some quality time together. You never know, Max may find “his own canine Valentine” while at the park. .
- If Max isn’t into the athletic stuff at the moment, maybe some shopping is what is in order! Take him to Petco, Petspart, or any other dog store. You could get him some warm clothing for our Northern Georgia winter. Dogs always love dog beds. How about getting a new fluffy place where he can lie his weary head after a game of catch or at the end of a long day? You both will sleep easy knowing this purchase was meant to pamper.
- How about having a portrait made with you and Max? The time you spend together while it is being taken will be a great bonding time. Having this as a memento and reminder of a special time will bring joy long into the future.
- We all love toys and Max is no exception. Nothing says “Be My Valentine” like a pink or red heart-shaped chew toy. Make sure that whatever you get will be safe for Max. Pick one that will last so that it will bring him hours and hours of fun and enjoyment long into the future. Although I don’t necessarily condone messiness, scattering the toys around the house will be a reminder for you of just how much you love your special four-legged companion.
- You can always “stay in” and enjoy a dinner and a movie with Max on Valentine’s Day. Pick your favorite animal-related movie (let’s avoid Cujo), and cozy up with Max and some human & doggie snacks. What’s better than a good movie, fun food, a blanket and a best friend?
- Although this isn’t the “most romantic dog thing”, make sure that you have taken care of your annual vet visit. This makes sure that Max is “good to go” for another year and still allows the two of your to bond.
- If you are a baker, you could cook some homemade dog biscuits. If you really aren’t a good baker, pick up gourmet treats at a local pet boutique. I am sure that Max would love some special doggie goodies on this special day.
It doesn’t really matter how you spoil Max on this Valentine’s Day. The important thing is that you both have a lot of fun. Whether you go for something simple or extravagant, make it a safe and enjoyable holiday for both you and your furry best friend.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over fifteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.