It’s amazing how much of an impact our dogs have on us during their short time here on earth.
To make the most of it, try making these seven memories with your dog. These are some of the most powerful ways you can cherish your dog, and make memories that you’ll have long after they’ve crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.
Watch The Sunrise And Sunset
Find excuses to travel, even if it’s just a one-hour road trip to a new park. Wake up extra early to catch the sunrise, or find a wide open space where you can watch the sunset together. Natural outdoor light is always best for photographs too.
A Photo With Every Family Member
Everyone who loves your dog should have their own photo with them. Take the time to make sure you take a photo of just your dog and your brother-in-law, each of your kids, your mom, your aunt, all of your friends – anyone who is an important part of your dog’s life.
A Letter To Your Dog
Write your dog a letter. They’ll never be able to read it, but sometimes, they somehow seem to understand when we talk to them. Read it aloud, and see how they react. You can turn this into a birthday tradition, or write to them any time you’re having a training issue, or just feeling down.
A Day At The Beach
Not all dogs like to swim, but you’ll never know until you give it a try with your dog. Visit a dog-friendly beach, bay or lake with your dog, and see what they do. You can try walking along the shore to see if your dog decides to wade with you, or throwing a toy to see if your dog goes after it.
Remember, all dogs have the bradycardia reflex, which stimulates them to paddle when they’re in water, but that doesn’t mean they can swim, nor that they enjoy it. So, we strongly advise that you do not force your dog into the water, or pull them in by their leash. Let them explore slowly at their own pace. If they don’t want to go into the water, that’s perfectly fine. They may prefer to watch birds fly over the water, or dig holes in the sand.
Watch out for toxic blue green algae, which has been known to kill dogs. Only swim in waters that have been tested to be safe for humans to swim, and that are popular swimming spots. If you’re not sure, just stay away. If your dog isn’t social, try going early in the morning or on a weekday.
It’s best to keep your dog on-lead unless they have absolutely perfect recall. Would your dog stop in their tracks and return to you if you catch them drinking saltwater? Or if they’re eating a rotten fish, full of sharp bones? If not, a regular lead or long line will keep your dog safe while they have fun.
When was your dog born? If you don’t know, you can celebrate their “gotcha day”, they day they were adopted. You can also celebrate their birthday on August 1, or “DOGust” the universal birthday of all rescue dogs.
Nobody likes having diarrhea on their birthday, so avoid overly rich birthday treats. Most doggy birthday cakes are bland and full of carbs and sugar. Adding raw or cooked eggs, chicken, beef or turkey to your dog’s usual food is enough to make their birthday meals special.
Try a fun activity on your dog’s big day. Maybe you can get the whole family involved in a game of hide and seek. Or, go for a long walk at their favorite park, allowing for plenty of mindful sniffing and introspection.
It’s your dog’s special day, so resist the urge to do things that you’d enjoy, but they might not, such as putting them in a funny hat. Some dogs like being dressed up, but if yours doesn’t, you can always add accessories via photo stickers in post-editing.
Every dog should have their own signature trick – a cute skill that they have mastered with lots of practice.
If your dog doesn’t know a lot of cues, it can be something simple, like “shake” or “spin” or “wave”. These cues are easiest to teach through a technique called luring. Lure your dog into raising a paw by holding a treat over their opposite shoulder. Or, lure them into a spin in several steps: start with a quarter spin, then move up to a half-spin, until your dog can spin in a full circle.
The best signature tricks are based on your dog’s natural behaviours. If your dog always stretches when they get up from a nap, you can use capturing to turn this into a “bow” or “curtsy” cue.
Try taking your dog to a pet supply store and see what they pick out. Do they seem to go for certain types of toys? Do they prefer bully sticks, or do they take you to the pig ears? Fuzzy stuffed toys, bones, or balls?
Shopping in a pet store can be a good way to socialize your dog, but like all public places, they have their hazards: viruses, for puppies who are not yet vaccinated, and potentially aggressive dogs or overenthusiastic children, either of which can create negative experiences that can instill new fears in your dog.
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