It can be painfully obvious, at times, when another human hates the gifts you gave them. But when you drop a brand new chew toy in front of your beloved pet and they immediately rip the thing to shreds, it can be difficult to tell whether they appreciated the present, or decided to destroy it in your face to display their intense displeasure. So, to help you understand your furry friend a little better — and make better choices at the pet store over the holidays — we asked animal behaviorist Sonja Yoerg how to really tell if your pet likes their Christmas gift. Come along, and bring your little friend with you!
The Automatic Fetch Machine
Yoerg says that if your pet plays with their gift, they like it. For something like a ball-tossing machine, your dog won’t know what it is at first, so they may seem uninterested. But as soon as you show them how to drop the ball in and that it pitches it back out, you’ll know pretty quickly if they’re excited. And don’t worry, your pet will never understand what a lazy owner you are.
That Hideous Pet Sweater
“I doubt there’s a dog that loves being dressed,” says Yoerg. At best, your dog or cat may tolerate a hat, sweater or those stupid antlers in the same way that they grow used to a collar, but they don’t like them. This goes double for cats, who probably won’t even tolerate them.
The Classic Hamster Ball
Maybe your rodent likes his hamster ball, or maybe it’s a claustrophobic plastic prison where he must dodge the feet of his owner until getting lost under the couch. To be sure of his fondness for it, Yoerg says to place it near him and see if he puts himself inside. If he does, he loves it — if he runs away, you should have bought him a gift card.
A Dog Selfie Stick
While you may think a selfie stick with a tennis ball attached is a great pet gift, Yoerg says, “It’s only about getting the dog to look toward the lens, so it’s purely something for the human. It’s not a gift for the dog at all.” Unless, of course, they decide to chew the whole thing to pieces while you’re at work.