Tail-waggingly good gift ideas for dog lovers

A woman and child sitting and smiling with two pet dogs

Dogs bring so much joy into our lives. And in-turn, we love to show them how much we appreciate it. We all know that a shiny new collar to show off on their daily walkies, or a plush comfy bed are go-to gift ideas for dog owners.

But there are a few practical gifts for dog lovers that’ll help you pamper your pooch or help a friend build a strong dog/owner relationship with their own four-legged family member.

We’ll cover dog care tips, to give you a little inspiration, whether you’re treating yourself or someone else. We’ll look at training, grooming and keeping active – and what presents you can buy the next time a big occasion rolls around.

  • Training dogs and teaching owners
  • Create a grooming routine that’s up to scratch
  • Keep your dog active and happy

Training dogs and teaching owners

Gifts for dog lovers should focus on nurturing the unbreakable bond between human and canine. It takes time, patience and usually the odd treat or two but it’s well worth it.

Whatever breed of dog you have, and whether they’re a young pup or getting on in doggy years, training is crucial for developing a strong relationship. It’ll help your dog grow in confidence and kick any behavioral issues into touch too.

Teaching him or her right from wrong can help reduce stress for everyone involved. You’re less likely to become frustrated when they misbehave, and they’ll have an owner that understands their behaviors better. Who wouldn’t want that?

It’s worth knowing that different breeds respond in their own unique way to training. More active dogs may prefer being challenged physically – agility training, for instance. Others may be suited to mentally-stimulating training, such as learning basic and advanced commands.

Finding what makes your dog’s tail wag

Whatever type of training, many canine experts promote reward-based training as the best way to help dogs learn. So give lots of positive reinforcement when they do the right thing, rather than trying to reprimand behavior you don’t want.

Again, the type of reward that works best will depend on his or her breed. Vocal praise is usually appreciated across the board, but some will love a quick play with their favorite toy. For other dogs, a treat is the quickest way to their heart.

If you’re looking for gifts for dog lovers, how about getting them a box of their favorite treats for their canine friend? Or you could choose a toy that you know they will love to play with with their puppy pal. Having something new and exciting for them is a great way to motivate training sessions.

Different breeds respond in their own ways to training. For instance, more active breeds will be better suited to agility training, which might not benefit dogs who aren’t built for consistent physical activity. Others may be better suited to more mentally stimulating tasks, or a balance of the two.

Do a little background research into what your dog is likely to respond well to, and then you can both have fun finding what works best.

Tips to help train and teach your dog

  • Start training in a quiet place, free from distractions. This will help them concentrate fully on your commands.
  • Keep training sessions short, so they don’t get overwhelmed or overloaded with information. It’ll also make sure they look forward to training sessions.
  • Reward your dog for doing well and make training as fun as possible. Try ending with a trick they know and can do. This will give them confidence that they’re doing well.

Treating a more advanced pooch? Try a PetSmart gift card. They’ve got a range of dog training courses available. From puppy training for new arrivals to beginner training courses to brush up their skills, you can enroll any dog into a variety of fun sessions that they’ll love to take part in.

Creating a grooming routine that’s up to scratch

When we’ve had a fresh haircut or enjoyed a pampering day, we feel much better. But for dogs, it’s even more important. A trip to the groomers is a great gift for dog owners that’ll also improve your pet’s overall health and wellbeing.

Regular dog grooming can help:

  • Prevent matting – not only does regular brushing and washing remove loose hairs, it also prevents matting. This can be really uncomfortable for your dog, causing skin irritations and making it painful when they’re stroked.
  • Keep hair manageable – a light trim can get rid of overgrown hair that can hang over a dog’s eyes and affect their vision. It can also help prevent possible skin infections and keep your canine looking his best.
  • Handle overgrown claws – clipping a dog’s claws can stop them from growing into their paw pads, which can make it painful for them to walk – not what’s needed when they’re heading out on their daily adventures.

The grooming routine a dog needs to keep them looking sharp depends on their breed. If they have shorter hair, like a Bulldog or Labrador Retriever, they may not need frequent maintenance – aside from the usual brushing and de-fleaing. Those with a longer, thicker or more complex coat, such as Poodles or German Shepherds, may need a trip to the groomers more often.

Keeping your dog looking his best

  • Get to know your dog’s coat type and what shampoo he needs. Longer coats may need a stronger shampoo once in a while and a conditioner afterwards. Use a gentle shampoo, to protect your dog’s skin.
  • Check your dog’s teeth and claws regularly. Get them used to this when they’re young, so they’re comfortable with you massaging their gums or lightly brushing their teeth.
  • When visiting a professional dog groomer, make sure your dog is happy to be cared for by someone other than you. Reward-based training can get them used to any equipment they use.

Why not help a dog lover you know by giving them a gift they can redeem for an appointment at the groomers? A Petco gift card lets dog owners reserve breed-specific appointments that are a personalized service for their pet. Of course, you can also buy yourself a gift card and treat your own four-legged friend.

Keep their tail wagging with fun and adventure

While dogs love nothing more than cuddling up in their comfy bed (or your couch), they need exercise and activities to keep their inquisitive minds challenged. Otherwise, they can become bored with the same routine and can misbehave – chewing things up to entertain themselves.

Some breeds are considered ‘smarter’ than others and need more mental stimulation to burn off their boundless energy. Some dogs will be perfectly content with a long walk in the countryside, rounds of fetch or socializing with other pups.

A mixture is generally best to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. To keep your dog happy, it’s important to:

  • Teach them new tricks – we all know the oft-used phrase, but you really can teach any dog a new skill to give them a task that’ll challenge their mind. Basic commands are a great place to start off. Once they’ve mastered it, why not consider a training class? It’s a fantastic gift for dog lovers regardless of what breed or age your pet is.
  • Play games with them – build-up that dog/owner bond by playing with them and keep them active. Even something as simple as playing fetch outside or setting up a mini-obstacle course in your garden can test them physically and mentally.
  • Create mini-tasks – putting a treat inside a toy, so they have to work out how to reach it, hiding their favorite toy and getting them to find it, any kind of game will help keep their cogs turning in their heads.

Keeping your dog active

  • Socialization is key to developing your dog’s behavior, but also helps engage their mind and senses when they meet someone new.
  • Try training classes to continually test and challenge your dog, as they’ll learn new skills, in an enjoyable way that they can work on every session.
  • Aside from their usual daily walks, take them out with you, whenever it’s safe to do so. Even a quick car ride can help them see something other than the same four walls – introducing them to new sights, smells and sounds.

If a friend or loved one is looking to make their home a mentally stimulating haven, try a Target gift card and browse their range. They’ve got brand-new dog toys that’ll keep them entertained for hours on end, while it’s easy to restock your barrel of treats whenever you next play hide and seek with them.

Send dog lovers pet gift cards

Help the dog lover in your life treat their best friend by sending a gift card. Give them the present of a dog grooming, PetsHotel weekend or Doggie Day Camp stay with a PetSmart gift card.

Or treat your own beloved pooch to a brand-new toy for hours of entertainment or a new bag of treats to fuel their training. A Petco gift card is a fantastic option whether you want to splash out on your dog’s birthday or want to budget how much spend on their toys this year.

You can also check out the range of pet accessories on offer at Target so your four-legged friend is never forgotten.