Santa Paws is Coming to Town: Preparing Your Dog for Christmas Guests
With the holiday season approaching, the air is filled with excitement and joy. While we eagerly anticipate the festivities, it's important to consider our canine companions and ensure they navigate the season with comfort and ease. I've compiled a list of 7 key points to help your dog not only endure but relish the holiday celebrations.
Create a Comfort Zone
Designate a quiet space equipped with familiar items where your dog can seek refuge when the holiday hustle becomes overwhelming. This can be a room for them that they are familiar with or their crate if they are crate-trained. Some dogs may be able to go to these places on their own, while others may need direction when you notice signs that things are getting a bit hectic or that your dog is becoming uncomfortable.
Encourage Calm Behavior with Positivity
Employ positive reinforcement to reward your dog for relaxed behavior around guests, reinforcing the idea that good behavior leads to positive outcomes. It would be wise to have some of their favourite treats nearby that are easily accessible.
Gradual Exposure to Guests
Introduce your dog slowly to the sights and sounds of guests, starting with short interactions and progressively extending the duration to help them acclimate. Also, asking your guests to have calm voices while interacting with your dog will help to encourage more peaceful behaviour. You can also ask your guests to feed some of your dogs favourite foods to them. This should help with building trust between your dog and your guests.
Reinforce Basic Commands
Ensure your dog is well-versed in basic commands like sit, stay, and come, providing a reliable means of controlling their behavior. You should start practicing your Dog Training now if your dog still needs to get these basics down. Start practicing in a low-distraction area, and gradually add distractions once they have mastered what you are asking.
Redirect Unwanted Behavior
Instead of forceful corrections, redirect unwanted behavior and reward positive actions, guiding your dog toward desirable behavior. For example: if your dog decides to go for a Christmas decoration, trade them for one of their favorite toys instead. Doing this reinforces what they should be doing instead of just correcting what they should not be doing. You must think in advance and have items available to redirect when needed.
Maintain Regular Exercise
Remember your Dog Walking! Prioritizing regular exercise expends excess energy, reducing the likelihood of hyperactive behaviour during the festivities. We must remember that dogs do not get days off! They need to walk every day. During busy days, ensuring that our dogs have ample opportunities to expend their energy is even more important. Maintaining your dog's routine will provide a sense of stability and security.
Monitor Food Access
Monitoring your dog's food access is a crucial aspect of ensuring their well-being during the holiday season. With the abundance of tempting treats and festive foods around, it's essential to keep a vigilant eye on what your dog consumes. Be cautious about offering them human treats that may be harmful, such as foods containing chocolate, nuts, or other ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. Additionally, remind your guests to avoid sharing their plate with your dog, as some ingredients commonly found in holiday dishes can pose a threat to their health. By maintaining this watchful approach, you'll safeguard your dog from potential hazards, allowing them to enjoy the holiday season safely and happily.
By incorporating these suggestions, you can help ensure your dog not only endures but actively enjoys the holiday season. The festive spirit is for everyone, including our dogs, so let's make sure they feel the love and cheer as Santa Paws comes to town.