International Dog Day was founded in 2004 in the United States, by pet and family lifestyle expert, dog lover, and animal rescue advocate Colleen Paige.
She chose August 26 as this was the day her family adopted their first dog. Since then, International Dog Day has grown in size and is now celebrated all over the world. It is thought that since the start of International Dog Day one million dogs have been adopted in the US alone!
10 ways you can celebrate International Dog day with your dog:
1) Show your dog how much you love them
Make International Dog Day the day when all your focus is on your dog to show just how much you appreciate their unconditional love and companionship.
Take the day off from doing chores and concentrate on spending it doing things that your dog will love. Think about what they would enjoy most; all dogs are different so it might be anything from a run on the beach to cuddling up on the sofa with you. One of the most precious gifts you can give your dog is your time — being with you makes them very happy.
2) Get your dog a new toy to celebrate the day
From balls and rope toys to treat-dispensing and puzzle toys, there has never been such a wide range of dog toys to choose from. A good dog toy stimulates your dog’s mind and allows him to use his natural instincts, whether that is chasing, searching, or problem-solving. What suits one dog won’t necessarily be the best choice for another, so make sure you know which type of toy works best for your dog.
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3) Make some home-made dog treats
There’s a saying that cooking done with care is an act of love, so why not cook up some treats for your favourite four-legged friend? You’ll find plenty of inspiration and recipes online or try out this recipe for liver cake — dogs love it and it is brilliant as a training treat.
4) Adopt a dog from your local rescue shelter
If you’re thinking of welcoming a new dog into your home, have you considered a rescue dog? In rescue centres up and down the country there are thousands of dogs looking for new homes, and there are many reasons why dogs might end up in shelters through no fault of their own.
A rescue may also be a more realistic option for a potential owner who hasn’t got the time to take on the demands of a puppy, but who can find a dog who already has the skills, training, and personality to fit in with their lifestyle in rescue. A good rescue organisation will have skilled training and behaviour staff who have assessed the dogs in their care and can match them with an owner who can provide them with what they need.
5) Volunteer at your local shelter
Have you thought about volunteering? Not only can you help make a difference for rescue dogs, but you’ll make lots of new friends as part of the volunteering team. Many canine charities welcome volunteers —with roles ranging from dog walking to helping with training, admin, media support, and fundraising — but each will have their own way of working. Find out more by searching online or contact the charities direct.
6) Take your dog on their favourite walk
For some dogs, exploring a new walk is very exciting, but less confident individuals may be happier to go somewhere familiar. The key to giving your dog his best walk ever is to make sure you are fully engaged with him. This is not the time for checking out social media or catching up on phone calls; put all your electronic devices away and give your dog your full attention! Try running through a couple of training exercises on your walk (but don’t overdo it), playing some retrieve and scenting games, and allowing your dog plenty of time to take in the interesting smells and explore his environment.
7) Teach your dog a new trick
Teaching your dog tricks builds the bond between you, develops your training skills, and more importantly, your dog’s learning skills (as long as it is safe, is something the dog enjoys, and you use positive training methods). It also builds his confidence.
What’s more, trick training is fun, and the whole family can enjoy both the training and showing off the tricks.
8) Commission a pawtrait or photo session of your dog
What better way to celebrate your pet? Having your dog’s portrait on your living room wall is a lasting keepsake and reminder of a much-loved member of the family. Artists offer a wide range of media (from pencils and pastels, to watercolour, acrylic, and oils) and techniques and styles, so you’ll need to do your research to find which style you’d prefer. Photographers offer a range of packages too, from studio portraits to ‘on location’ photoshoots, which capture the heart and soul of your pet.
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9) Host a doggy party over the weekend
Get together with a few dog-owning friends and plan a party to remember. It’s probably best — and safest — to limit the canine guest list to a few dogs who know each other well and get along. If the party is taking place outside, make sure the area is escape-proof and that there is plenty of shade and easy access to water bowls, which are topped up regularly. You can provide treats for dogs and humans, but it’s wise to ensure all the food is safe for dogs to eat. When it comes to activities, you’ll find lots of ideas for games online, from musical sit to an obstacle course, and a ‘best party trick’ competition.
Taking lots of photos and providing dog goody bags for guests can all add to the fun — and don’t forget to stock up on poo bags and paper towels!
10) Share this with your friends so they can get involved with their dogs too!
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