BBK9’s tips for keeping your dog stress free over the Christmas holidays and tips for getting a new puppy

Posted on 04/12/20

Christmas is a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, (covid permitted of course) but they can also be a challenging time when you have pets. Anxious, high energy or reactive dogs are especially prone to stress during these times. Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe and stress-free this holiday season:

1. PLAN AHEAD

  • If you know you’re going to be having guests over, think ahead.
  • Set up a safe space for your dog to go to when they are feeling overwhelmed. This may be a small room away from people, or a crate with something special. ie a Kong filled with something delicious.
  • If your dog is nervous or anxious, ask your guests not to bother your dog when they are in their safe place.
  • Ask guests not to directly interact with your dog; instead, they can drop treats on the ground when your dog comes around.
  • If your dog has shown any aggression towards strangers, manage the situation by keeping your dog in another room any time guests come over. If you need further help with this contact us for advice.
  • If your dog is a notorious thief make sure you keep goodies out of reach.
  • If your dog jumps up on guests, or jumps all over furniture, train them to stop this before hand so that your guests can have a more peaceful entry into your home and can chill without dog slobber on them.

2. WATCH OUT FOR ITEMS DANGEROUS TO YOUR DOG

  • Grapes, raisins, chocolate are all dangerous to dogs. Keep them out of reach, even the chocolate coins on the tree.
  • Coffee, alcohol, and nicotine are all also potentially hazardous to your dog.
  • You might be tempted to give your dog extra table bits from your Christmas meal, but keep in mind that rich, fatty foods can harm your dog’s digestive system as well as weight gain if you give too much and also give your dog their normal portion at mealtimes.

3. BE WARY OF HAZARDS

  • Make sure your Christmas tree is secured to the ground, and stop your dog’s temptation to jump on the tree by avoiding edible decorations like chocolate coins.
  • Clean up any needles daily and don’t allow your dog to drink water from the tree pot.
  • Any presents under the tree containing hazardous items place them where your dog can’t reach them.
  • Keep all burning candles away from your dog’s reach and be careful of strong scented candle.
  • Make sure any food is high enough away from your dog and pans are turned away from the edge of hobs etc.

4. DON’T FORGET TO KEEP UP WITH WALKING AND TRAINING

It can be easy to get caught up in the busy time at Christmas and New Year, but don’t forget about your dog in the process. Regardless of the weather or your busy life, your dog still needs exercise and mental stimulation to avoid boredom and stress and unwanted behaviours.

  • Remember that daily walk with your dog. Not only will walking your dog reduce their stress levels, it will reduce yours, too.
  • If your dog usually has a routine, a change in their routine can cause extra stress.
  • If you’re going to be away from home more than usual, make sure you provide your dog with interactive toys or treats to keep them busy.
  • Join the online academy to access videos to do at home, even if it’s just half an hour each day.
  • Doing nothing with your dog can create unwanted behaviours, like attention seeking, barking etc.
  • Use your walk to do a training session or play search games with your dog this will mentally tire your dog and help them to chill once they are back home.

5. THINKING ABOUT GETTING A CHRISTMAS PUPPY?

  • The old cliche of a puppy isn’t just for Christmas. Having a dog is a life time commitment with a journey of fulfilment and education.
  • A puppy is a big commitment for all the family, children included.
  • Don’t underestimate the hard work and responsibility they require.
  • Be prepared for sleepless nights, accidents, and a few mistakes along the way.
  • Remember, toilet training, crate training, puppy biting and walking need lots of patience, consistency and amazing timing.
  • And if you still want to go ahead then make sure you organise some advice before collecting your puppy. Setting rules and boundaries is paramount to shaping your dog’s behaviour.
  • Book into puppy classes for great foundation training and the key skills to having a well rounded dog.

If you need us do not hesitate to contact us for any advice, help or training needs. We love what we do and helping you and your dogs have an amazing fulfilled life is our mission.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year, one and all.