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On Valentine’s Day, humans give chocolate, teddy bears, and roses to our loved ones to show appreciation and affection. But what about our favorite canine companions? Here are some tips on how you can show your four-legged Valentine some love.

Take a Long Walk

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day with your dog than sharing some quality bonding time? Take your dog for a nice, long walk in the neighborhood where they can sniff to their heart’s content. Or bring them to a dog park or fenced-in, off-leash area to run around. If the weather’s warm enough, you could even go hiking with your dog. It’s a great way for your pup to get some exercise and have fun.

Teach Your Dog New Tricks

Another way to bond with your dog and show some appreciation on Valentine’s Day is by teaching them a new trick. You can easily teach your dog tricks like shake hands, crawl, fetch, roll over, and even kiss. Training treats that your dog really loves are a great way to teach your dog tricks through positive reward training. Dogs who learn enough tricks can ultimately earn their AKC Trick Dog title.

Have a “Date Night” In

You and your dog may want to opt for a relaxing evening at home. Sometimes it’s nice to just cuddle up on the couch and watch a good movie. If it happens to be a dog movie, even better. Giving your furry friend extra attention and cuddles is a surefire way to make them feel special on Valentine’s Day.

English Setters snuggling together with their heads.
Lina Christa/Shutterstock

Give Your Dog a Gift

Valentine’s Day is prime for gift-giving, but what’s a dog to do with flowers or jewelry? Instead, consider pup-appropriate presents like a new toy, bed, or outfit. Your dog may not understand the reason for the gift, but they’ll likely love it no matter what since it came from their favorite human. Plus, you can be reasonably sure your present won’t get re-gifted.

Get Them Groomed

Some dogs may not like being groomed, but plenty of pups love it. A professional dog grooming session is a great way to splurge on or spoil your pup, but there are also at-home grooming options if your dog isn’t into traveling to the groomer. At the very least, a good brushing and a quick bath are nice ways to keep your pet fresh this Valentine’s Day.

Treat Your Dog Right

Anyone who’s seen a ravenous pup devour their dinner can confirm that dogs love to eat. Treats are a great way to provide mental stimulation via training while showing your dog some love in the process. Sure, giving treats might be something you do every day anyway. If treats are what your dog loves, who are you to deny them some snacks (in moderation) on this day dedicated to love?

Give Sports a Shot

Dog sports are an ideal way to channel some of your dog’s instincts and energy into a fun activity you both will love. Some sports (like Obedience, Agility, and AKC Rally) focus on teamwork and the dog-owner bond. Others, like Fast CAT and Scent Work, seek to develop dogs’ natural urges, like chasing and sniffing. Introducing your canine companion to the world of dog sports is a unique way to show your love.

Massage Your Dog

Yes, you read that right. Massages are beneficial to dogs, just as they are for humans. If your dog is already an athlete, they’ll appreciate the added attention to sore muscles.

However, massages are good for all canines, even those couch potatoes.  Massages reduce stress and anxiety, increase circulation, decrease pain, and strengthen the bond between you and your dog, making it a perfect Valentine’s Day activity.

Get Smart(er)

If “a tired dog is a happy dog,” that applies to your dog’s brain, too. Dogs are intelligent creatures that require mental stimulation to stave off boredom and stress. There are plenty of creative ways to provide mental stimulation, but puzzle toys are a fun and easy option that both you and your dog will enjoy.

Related article: How to Groom a Dog at Home
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