2019 Dog Gift Guide

For many, the days between The 4th Thursday in November and the 1st of January, bring up feelings of gratitude and desire to give gifts to our dogs. I think one of the most under marketed gifts we can give to our dogs (and people) is the gift of time, so without further ado here is a 2019 Dog Gift Guide where you don’t have to spend a dime.

8 (Free) Gifts Your Dog Will Love:

1. Morning Exercises – grab a handful of treats, a happy attitude, and practice obedience cues. Going through the paces of sit, down, stand, targets, back up, spin, hi five, stay will not only help your dog’s cue responses but can also help with their body awareness and muscle development. If you’re really into it, do the cues along with your dog so you both get your morning exercises in

2. A Walk in their Favorite Place (without your phone) – get outside and walk with your dog. Just you, your dog and the great outdoors. Some dogs like to walk in the park, others in the neighborhood and some prefer to stay within the comforts of your yard. Take a walk together, smell the smells, see the sights, feel the earth.

3 dogs stand on a bench, a retriever guide dog sits next to the bench

3. Undivided hang out time – spend some quality time hanging out with your dog. No phone, no TV, no tablet, no distractions. Sit on the dog bed together, or on the couch. If your dog likes petting, stroke them. Don’t forget to remind your dog they are the best dog in the world and you can’t believe how lucky you are to have such cuteness in your life!

4. Play a Game Together – What’s your dog’s favorite game? Play it with them. Maybe that’s hide and seek, or fetch, or tug, or sniff, or run around like a goof. Either way, get involved and play together.

close up of a smiling corgi face with a tan round toy at her feet

5. Get Creative – Many dog’s enjoy novelty, so a great gift to your dog can be that of a creative new activity or game. Maybe it’s a new trick you decide to learn together, or a game you invent (Zora enjoys our invented game that involves the JAWs theme song and her stuffed fish toy). Reality is, you can be as ridiculous as you both care to be since it’s just you and your dog having fun

6. Sing to them – Does your dog have their own song yet? Assuming yes, sing it to them. If no, make one up (or modify a known song. One of Tom’s is to the tune of “Baby Beluga”). If you can’t carry a tune, you might have a dog who doesn’t mind (or you might have a dog who decides to leave the room, everyone’s a critic after all 😉 and in which case tell them a story instead).

Rascal wishes I’d listen to him and share my food with him

7. Listen to Them – We often get caught up in talking to or at our dogs that we forget to give the gift of listening and observation. Do you know how your dog likes to be touched? Have you observed how your dog lies down? How do you know if your dog likes something or not? Spend some quiet time getting to really know your dog and what they like and don’t like.


8. Commit to Learning to “Speak” Dog – thankfully there are many great (often free) resources on dog body language, evidence based practices, canine cognition, etc on the web (IAABC.org is a great place to start). One of the best gifts we can give our dogs is the commitment to learn about them, value and love them for being dogs, and set aside the common cultural myths that are so often to our dog’s detriment (reality is: Lassie was a fictitious character, most dogs don’t enjoy being hugged or picked up, growling is not a bad thing, muzzles are a life saving tool, baby’s sitting on dog’s isn’t cute, and the list continues from there).

And remember these are gifts we can give our dogs year round! Don’t under estimate the joy that can be had with gifts of time and attention.

9 thoughts on “2019 Dog Gift Guide

  1. A much better gift list than so many others I’m seeing! One actually had an automatic feeder so you could leave your cat home alone for up to four days. If I could have reached through the screen and strangled the author of that list, I would have. You’re right…the free stuff…time and attention…so much more valuable.

    1. Thanks! 4 days?! The poor cat. Time and attention often feel like a sparse resource in our culture today, but for our pets (and us humans really) they really are the top gift to give if you ask me.

      1. People think cats can go days by themselves, but that’s nuts. A sick cat won’t show illness until really sick, and in four days could be dead. We require a minimum of one visit every 24 hours for our cat pet sitting clients. Would you be okay with me including a link to your blog in my December newsletter to clients? I want to do a piece on gifts as well, and it will include training classes for the pups, but I’d love to include a link to your suggestions as well.

        1. Believe it or not some people also think that’s ok to do with dogs. It’s not! Yes absolutely you are welcome to use the link in your newsletter. Thanks 🙂

          1. Potty pads, dog door and an auto feed and waterer. Trust me when I found out they went on vacation for 7 days and left all the animals home without any form of supervision I was appalled. I’ll check for the email, thanks!

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