Top 5 tips for preparing your dog this Christmas
The decorations are appearing in shops and at home, school holidays have started and everyone is (or should be 😉 ) starting to get into the holiday spirit. The energy will be up, there is more activity around the household and our dogs will start to notice this change in the atmosphere.
Dogs love routines and to be honest the majority of dogs like to take their time in meeting new people and can struggle when there is an influx of strangers into their home. So it is important that you take the time to plan and try implementing our top 5 tips to help your dog to enjoy this time with your family and friends.
Tip 1 – Advance notice of the rules!
If you have family and friends coming over to visit for the day or staying for an extended period of time, it is important to let them know ahead of time the rules of engagement for interacting with your dog.
Advance notice of these rules will help keep structure for your dog as well avoid any bad habits developing during this time. Rules such as
- Not being allowed on beds,
- No food from the dining table,
- Let the dog approach you instead of reaching out to the dog (especially important for nervous, unsure or anxious dogs),
- Leave the dog alone when eating or sleeping this is especially important for young children to understand. etc.
Tip 2 – “Let the dogs out” when all humans are settled!
When family and friends first arrive there is generally a lot of excitement, some squealing, hugging, maybe even some shouting. This can be quite overwhelming for our dogs!
If your dog is crate trained or has a safe space in another room, let your family & friends know that while your dog is in their create/safe space no one is to interact (look or touch) the dog. Once the humans have settled down and your dog has time to adjust to their presence then you may want to let them out to meet the humans in a calm manner.
Tip 3 – Keep decorations, wrapping/packaging away from your dog
Whilst it can be fun and tempting to allow your dog to tear open wrapping paper and boxes, these can cause obstruction issues if swallowed. Plastic packaging can cause cuts around the mouth if your dog chews on them and most importantly if batteries are included in the gift make sure the dog does not get a hold of them and swallow them otherwise it may be a trip to the emergency vet for an expensive stay.
Tip 4 – Pet proof your garbage
With so much food preparation the kitchen and bins are going to be smelling AMAZING to your dog, so make sure all food is stored securely. All garbage is put away straight away and your dog cannot access it. Empty the bins often, don’t let them get too full so that your dog can get to it.
Tip 5 – Brush up on your dogs obedience training
In the lead up to friends & family arriving, set aside 10-15 minutes per day to practise your dog’s obedience training either with their daily portion of food or their favourite treats, so that both your dog and your family remember what the rules are. If you have an exuberant dog, you want to consider doing some training with your dog just before your guests arrive so that your dog is mentally tired and less excited when your guests arrive.
Remember, it only takes a little time and effort to ensure your pet will be safe and happy – the last thing anyone wants is having to spend holiday time with your pet at the vet or your dog developing any reactivity due not having the space and time to adjust to the changes around them.
Enjoy the festive season and have a great time together!