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Australians are expected to spend millions on their beloved dogs this Christmas! We've asked TAFE NSW Animal Studies Teacher Deb Coleman to research the market and provide the five best Christmas presents for your pooches.
Deb, affectionately known as The Dog Lady, was this year crowned the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia (APDT) Dog Trainer of the Year, so is well qualified to pass judgement.
"Make sure you don't forget to spoil your four-legged friends this Christmas," Ms Coleman said. "Their love is unconditional all year around so this is a nice way to include them in your Christmas celebrations.
"The most important thing to remember when purchasing gifts is to focus on something that will not impact the health of your best friend, and most importantly provide them with lots of entertainment!
"I have tested these products with my dogs at home, so am confident they will all make wonderful Christmas gifts."
1) A snuffle mat: This is an inexpensive enrichment item that can be made from a rubber mat and strips of fleecy material. A great quick craft idea for the kids or can be bought online. You can use it to feed your dog's breakfast or dinner or put some yummy treats in the snuffle mat to keep your dog occupied when your Christmas visitors arrive. No more jumping on Nanna and Grandpa! Fabulous for dogs of all ages and sizes and uses their natural seeking instincts.
2) Deer antlers: If your dog loves pig's ears but finishes them quickly, antlers are the perfect Christmas gift! They are long lasting and will occupy your dog for ages, satisfying your dog's natural instinct to chew. Better than him chewing your new wooden barbecue under the gazebo!
3) Puppington Pods: A pod shaped dog ball that is made in the shape of a lotus flower which folds into a ball using Velcro. You place a treat in the middle and teach your dog to bring the ball back and be rewarded when he does! Loads of fun for training fetch and for active dogs that love to chase balls.
4) Clam shells: One side can be filled with water and used for swimming in the warmer weather. Great as an extra water source even if your dog doesn't swim and you can add some chopped up carrot or apple for your dog to nibble during the day. The other side of the clam can be filled with sand or dirt and yummy treats buried. This will encourage your dog to dig in a designated area.
5) Foobler App Controlled Self Reloading Puzzle Feeder: Great for the Techos who love the latest gadgets! It can be filled with your dog's dog food or treats and has six separate dispensing puzzle pods for all day play and feeding. Compatible with iOS and Android.
Enrolments for a range of Animal Studies courses for 2018 at TAFE NSW are now being accepted. For more information visit tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.