It is always fun to give our dogs gifts; especially at Christmas. We love to see them play with the gift and we often join in and play with them using the gift. The good news is that this helps build a stronger bond between you and your dog. It also builds up his trust because of the safe interaction shown in your play time.
These can be a bad side to giving gifts as well. When we give a gift, we are implicitly referring what we are allowing and denying them to do. If we give a gift that encourages barking or jumping, we are telling them that barking and jumping are both acceptable actions. They don’t understand that an action may be allowed at playtime but not at other times. This is due to your dog’s consistent form of learning.
The most important fact that you must consider when picking out presents to give to your dog is the lesson that the present, the act of playing with the present, and the interaction the present creates is teaching your dog. Depending on how you evaluate what you are teaching your dog, some gifts may be fine for your dog and bad for your friend’s dog.
Robin and I have a great article that explains what you should consider when picking Christmas presents as well as what are some normally great dog gifts. Please read our dog training article titled “What are Good Christmas Presents for my Dog”.