Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dogs can unwrap gifts too

Not like this is big news to dog lovers. Most dog owners, I think, probably have discovered and regularly enjoy watching their dog unwrap gifts.
Before having a dog of my own, I really had no reason to give any thought to the issue. It was while celebrating Christmas with my sister and her dog, a Boxer named Bubba, that I realized watching a dog unwrap gifts can be as rewarding as watching kids unwrap gifts.
At the time, it was just her and her husband and the dog. Bubba really ripped into that wrapping paper and, just like a Boxer, used his forelegs and paws to bang the toy around and aid him in the unwrapping process.
Once the wrapping paper had been crushed under his paws and the toy was in his mouth, he pranced around the room like he was king of the world. He wasn’t just happy to have a new toy — he was also very proud of himself for “discovering” it.
The following year, I had my own dog at Christmastime and I was determined to have him unwrap his gifts. That first year, much like a child’s first year, he wasn’t very good at it. He took small bites at the paper and then spit it out. Once we got the item partially unwrapped, I’d finish the job and hand the prize over to him.
Again like a child though, by the time his birthday came around months later, he had greatly improved his gift unwrapping skills. And by his second Christmas, he was a pro. He went straight for where the wrapping paper had been taped together, carefully punctured the tape and paper with his teeth and peeled back the wrapping — often exposing the gift in one very talented unwrapping maneuver.
I love watching him unwrap gifts and I’m continually amazed by how good he is at it. Sensi tackles a wrapped box in a practically scientific manner — personally, I think it has a lot to do with their sense of smell, but that’s another topic for another day.
Teaching your dog to unwrap gifts comes with great challenges, though.
First, how do you ensure the dog won’t decide to open up all those gifts under the tree while you’re gone at work one day, or sleeping comfortably in bed one night? And just imagine how horrible that would be — iPods ruined by teeth marks, mauled Barbie dolls, toy trucks missing wheels, etc.
And secondly, what if that exuberant unwrapper of yours decides the wrapping paper is quite tasty?
Well, there’s a few things you can be sure of — Gifts will be gone or damaged, Christmas will be ruined and you may wind up paying for an expensive emergency surgery to remove Joey’s iPod or Jessica’s Barbie from Fido’s tummy.
In my next blog, I’ll give some tips on how to make sure you’re canine unwrapper doesn’t ruin Christmas.

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