It’s National Dog Day on August 26th. How about a charcuterie board for your favorite pups! As I was preparing this charcuterie board for my two pups, they were extremely attentive. They watched every single thing I did as I pulled out all of their favorite treats from the pantry…and a few more dog safe treats from the refrigerator that they had never sampled before. In fact, when I made a video of my charcuterie board, I had turned the television off but afterwards, when I watched the video, I could hear one of my dogs panting. It’s his favorite way to beg for treats or signal me that it’s time to play ball.
A charcuterie board, tray or bowl for pups is so easy to pull together. Gather up their favorite treats. Research what types of “people food” they can safely eat. Think about textures and colors as you arrange the board (that’s mainly for our eyes, not for the dogs). Think about what they like the best. Because, being such good pups, they really deserve their favorites.
I never let a chance pass by to teach them a new word or practice an old command when I’m working on a (dog) food project like this one. I like them to earn some of the treats we hand out. Sit, stay, come, hurry up (and poop) and no are some of the first commands I teach our dogs when they move in with us.
Other commands all of our dogs have learned over the years include okay (the release command), inside (come inside), outside, gimme five (shake hands), roll over, let’s go, up-up (jump into the car), down (lay down), off (stay off, no jumping on people), wait (I go through the door first), where’s your Dad, go see your Dad, downstairs (go downstairs), fetch, take (the ball in his mouth), hold (the ball), drop it (the ball), settle (calm down), go lay down, and give. The word “over” in our house means to jump over, as when I set up their hurdles, or when I’m sitting on the floor and command him to jump over my legs. “Through” means to run through the tunnel. One that’s great as we get older is “in my hand,” meaning to put the ball into my outstretched hand so I don’t need to reach for the ball on the floor.
When we are outside playing fetch (which is at least 10 times a day), especially in the snow when the ball gets buried, I’ve even taught him to respond to my commands to change directions when he’s searching the snowbanks for the ball. UH-HUH means to change direction. The words “this way” means come towards me to find the ball. The fetch command when my arm is flung forward in the air means the ball is further out in the yard.
It’s amazing how one of my dogs will stop and look at me with an expectant expression when he cannot find the ball, waiting for me to give a command to help him find it. And, it amazes me even more how he finds the ball even when it’s buried in a snowbank or in tall grasses. When he’s very close, I’ll holler “good dog, good dog” repeatedly and he’ll start digging right there in the snow to find his prized ball, pulling it out with a face full of snow, wildly wiggling his tail as he runs it back to me.
When the snow begins to pile up in late fall or early winter, he gets so excited when I tie a long fleece rope through his ball. Then I’ll tie knots in the rope to make it easy for him to grab. When I throw the ball, it’ll sink in the snow, but the fleece rope will land on top of the snow. That’s his target! In January and February, the fleece rope usually freezes solid so when he grabs the rope and runs back to me with it, the ball sticks straight out to the side – it’s hilarious to watch, especially with his big ears flopping up and down as he runs.
He’s already 10 years old and has always been obsessed with playing fetch and still shows it. He’s the happiest and grinning (yes, dogs can grin) when he’s playing fetch out or down the long hallway.
It’s really amazing how fast dogs can learn commands, especially when you repeatedly train every chance you get and use treats from a tasty charcuterie tray. The lesson here is to make the training fun and rewarding for everyone.
More about the treats on the charcuterie board:
I include their favorite food, special treats and some people food that I have found is safe for dogs. However, I use the people food in moderation. I do not give the people food treats to them on a daily basis but use them only for special times, like training and introducing new commands.
There are a number of sites online that will identify good foods for dogs, which can be used in moderation, which ones have better vitamins, etc. for them, which ones might bother their tummies, etc. Or speak to your veterinarian about the best choices for your dogs. Some people even make their own pets and it’s important we know what foods are good for them.
My pups’ charcuterie board:
Dog food, kibble
Milk Bone mini treats
Treat your pets with respect and make life fun for them, whether you have cats, dogs, gerbil, lizards, birds, etc. They make life fun for us as humans and they need to be rewarded for putting up with us. How ever you love your puppies and dogs, “Make Every Day a Happy One for Your Pup!”