This year, Black Friday will probably look a bit different than usual. Instead of braving packed malls in the middle of a pandemic, the wiser option by far will be to stay at home.
And do what, you might ask?
We have some great suggestions! In that time saved not muscling your way through the mall, you can participate in these five fun activities with your pooch
1. Teach your dog to hand target
Teaching your dog to hand target is a basic, easy-to-teach skill that can be incredibly versatile.
What exactly is hand targeting? It simply means teaching your dog to put their nose to your hand when you hold your hand towards them with an open palm.
This is a very simple command and for some dogs takes just a few minutes to teach!
Start off by rubbing a bit of peanut butter or hot dog juice on the inside of your hand. Hold your hand, palm out, and as soon as your dog begins to lick your hand, click (if you’re doing clicker training) or give your positive marker word (like saying“yes”), along with a treat.
Continue to repeat this pattern until your dog taps his nose to your hand as soon as you open it towards him. You can now add the cue word (such as “touch” or “target”)!
This basic command can be used in so many ways!
Need to get your dog off of the couch? Hand target!
Want your dog to hop into the car? Hand target!
You can skip right past “up” and “off” and just stick to hand targeting for a quick and easy training hack.
Anytime you need to physically relocate your dog, hand targeting can do the trick (assuming you’re in a relatively low-stimulation environment). And, this command only takes a short time to teach since it’s so simple!
2. Play flirt pole outside (before it gets too cold)
It’ll be getting even colder before you know it, so now is the time to get some final fun out of your backyard or at the local park. If your pup is sick of fetch, try a game of flirt pole! A flirt pole is more or less a giant cat toy, composed of a large stick, a piece of rope, and a toy at the end.
Move the toy in circles or across the grass and watch your dog go bananas. Dogs with a high prey drive will especially go crazy for a game of flirt pole!
3. Practice some scentwork
Do you have a pup whose sniffer is always on the ground? Put that nose to use by experimenting with scentwork!
Following scents isn’t just for bloodhounds and drug detection dogs— your own dog can experience the joys of scentwork too! Don’t forget that dogs primarily experience the world through smell, so engaging in nosework can be incredibly rewarding for them.
There are tons of simple and easy nosework games for dogs that you can play at home with just some household items and some treats.
A few favorites include:
- Muffin Tin Hunt. Put a few treats inside the indentations of a muffin tin and then cover with tennis balls. Watch your dog push and roll the tennis balls away to access the treats!
- Pick a Cup. This classic street game involves hiding a treat under one of three cups. Move the cups around in a circle to mix them up, and then have your dog “choose” a cup to look under. If he chooses right, he gets the treat. Otherwise, it’s time for round two!
- Treasure Hunt. Hide treats around the house. Place them in small tucked away corners or even slip them under the edges of rugs. Then have your hound-in-training hunt them down. Start off just hiding treats in one or two rooms to keep things easy. Just don’t forget where you hide treats, or you may be stepping on them the next day!
Redbarn’s Chicken, Beef and Whitefish cuts are the perfect high value, protein-packed treats to add to your training routine!
4. Make your dog a new colorful collar
Since you won’t be wasting the afternoon at the mall or on your computer, why not try a new sewing craft? Making a dog collar is a pretty easy craft, even for newbie sewers.
Just choose a favorite piece of fabric and grab a nylon strap, a collar buckle & tri-glide, as well as a metal D-ring and soon you’ll have yourself a beautiful new collar!
The awesome thing about making your own dog collars is that you can customize it in so many ways – you can create a collar featuring your favorite sports team, you can use fun seasonal patterns, and you can even make these as gifts for friends!
Not much of a crafter? There are plenty of great unique dog collars and leashes you can purchase from other more DIY-handy folks on Etsy.
5. Bake some homemade dog biscuits
Just because you aren’t shopping on Black Friday doesn’t mean you can’t start to put some gifts together for your canine loved ones. Take the afternoon to experiment with a few DIY dog biscuit recipes!
There are tons of great dog biscuit recipes online, but for something especially fall-inspired, check out this recipe for pumpkin dog biscuits:
Once you have a few recipes you like, bake up batches of your favorite dog biscuits, wrap them in some nice gift bags, and deliver them to friends and family as holiday gifts. Your favorite pet parents and their doggos will thank you!
See, wasn’t that so much more fun than the stresses of Black Friday shopping? We hope these Black Friday alternatives bring you and your pooch even closer together!
About The Author: Meg Marrs is the founder of K9 of Mine, a dog care resource website offering information on everything from dog training to dog gear buying guides.