Let’s admit it, it’s fun to get gifts for our dogs. Whether it’s a new squeaky toy, a special treat or a swanky fur coat, we are constantly giving gifts to the dogs we love.

Although all those things are great, and yes, your poochey pal enjoys them, there’s something even better you can give him. Something that he not only needs and loves, but craves.

It’s something that every single dog wants, no matter what the age, breed or size. And the really cool thing is that it won’t cost you a fortune and is available to everyone.

The gift is your time.

This amazing present is so simple yet so appreciated by your dog. Trust me, he would trade in that fancy collar and expensive food for some more quality time with you.

Dogs don’t really ask too much of us. All they want is to be a part of your family and spend time with you.

This is the same with kids and is something that I’ve become very aware of now that I’m a dad. My kids have a overflowing play room of toys, however what they want to play with most is me. It doesn’t matter what we do as long as we’re doing it together. I hear, “Daddy will you play with me?” many times a day. And it doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as I’m playing with them.

Dogs are the same way. The thing they want most of all is our undivided attention. That means not just going through the motions, really being there. The best present to your dog is to be totally present when you’re with them and enjoying the moment together.

Like everyone else, I’m a pretty busy guy and regularly find myself daydreaming about the gazillion things on my to-do list while playing or walking my dog Hayley. When I catch myself and look down at her I can immediately see that she knows I’m not really there and am giving her a very half-hearted effort.

Don’t “phone it in.” Really give your dog 100% and take that time to be just with them. It really doesn’t matter if you’re training, walking, playing or just giving a belly rub – just give your dog that time completely.

Think of it as a gift, because that’s what it is. Do you want to give someone a crappy gift or a great one? The best gifts are always the ones that you put the most thought and effort into, and that certainly applies here.

I saw that when I give my kids and Hayley my complete attention our relationship improves and they all really appreciate the time I spend with them.

Although gift giving should be a very selfless act, there are some big selfish reasons to give your dog this time as well.

It’s been well documented that owning a dog has amazing health benefits like lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and improving your mood. But not if your mind is worrying about your work load, family pressure or day to day stress. For you to achieve all these great health benefits from you have to give yourself to the experience and really be there with your pooch.

This year skip the trip to the pet store and spend some much needed QT with your dog. It’s really the only thing your dog wants and will help you realize the true joy of sharing your life with a dog.

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