Christmas is coming. The Yuletide season is a busy time for most households, and for dog owners, caring for dogs on Christmas is an important issue to think about.
Friends and family come and go, deliveries arrive at the doorstep, delicious smells waft from the kitchen, and a happy noise means someone special is coming. We’re not the only ones affected with the festivities, but our furry friends, too, want to be part of the celebrations.
While some dogs enjoy the change, others find it confusing and stressful. Your normally calm dog may suddenly begin to exhibit signs of unusual behavior, such as stealing food, jumping up on people, or growling or snapping at visitors. To have a peaceful holiday, you need to communicate and demonstrate to your dog that, while things may be different than usual, you will continue to keep them safe and secure.
An insecure dog, regardless of its breed and size, tends to become confused in new situations – they are unsure of what to do. Because they feel threatened, they may get defensive and snap or bite people.
A well-balanced dog, on the other hand, is at ease meeting and being in the company of others – whether dogs or people. They have been introduced to different situations and are secure in the knowledge that they have remained safe through all of them.
Here are some tips to help calm your dog and keep everyone safe during the holiday season.
Dogs and Children
Dogs who live in a house with no children may find it uncomfortable when kids of relatives and friends visit your home during the festival season. The chaos and noise created by little children will naturally raise the energy level in the house. This might cause the dog to worry or get stressed.
Make sure to always check the kids and dogs when they are alone together. This is when most dog bites happen.
The parents of little children need to be vigilant. They should monitor their youngster’s interactions with the house pet. Parents should also teach children to treat dogs with respect and gentleness.
Do not invite a kid to feed the dog by hand because this teaches the pooch that it is okay to take any food from a child. Since children are small, the dog may see them as an equal and try to take advantage of the situation.
Dogs Need Security and Boundaries
Our four-legged family members need to have their own “house”— a space where they feel secure and calm. If your dog doesn’t own one, make one for him.
A crate or pet carrier can be a safe haven for your dog. Keep the area where you put the crate or dog pillow quiet and direct your dog to go there when you need to set boundaries. They may not like being separated from you, but will still feel secure.
If your dog starts to bark or nip at visitors, take him away from the area and keep him in his safe place until your guests have gone.
Keep your furry friend out of certain rooms where he can get underfoot. For example, training your pooch to keep away from the kitchen is a good safety measure. It also helps prevent begging for food.
If you’re taking your dog on your travels during the holidays, do not forget to take their crate or carrier with you. This will help them feel more relaxed, since “home” is where he finds you and his familiar bed.
Senior Dogs Prefer Peace
Senior dogs may not like the energy of the holiday season. Be mindful to keep your older dog comfortable when their routine differs.
If your elderly pooch gets irritable around visitors, take him or her to their special quiet place where they won’t be bugged and can feel safe.
Tell children to be more respectful towards older dogs. Always keep an eye out when dogs and kids are together.
Front Door Manners
A knock on the door or the ring of the doorbell is exciting for a dog. They see it as fun or alarming. It is natural for a dog to be eager to know who the visitors are. They also want to know whether they are friendly or not.
Dogs that explode with excitement at the front door are both stressful and unsafe. In the excitement, they could do just about anything – rush out of the door, dash onto the road, or knock your guests over.
To help your dog and yourself:
- Exercise your dog before guests start to arrive. Allow him some walking or playing time. That way, your dog will more likely feel relaxed or want to take a nap.
- Do not allow your pooch to greet unfamiliar guests in the house because commotion and human festivities can cause stress for dogs.
- Consider a leash while guests arrive to maintain better control of your dog.
- Train your dog to sit and stay on command. When somebody knocks on your door, put your pooch in a sit-stay. Do not open the door until he calms down.
- If your dog still gets overly excited with arriving guests, take him away from the scene ahead of time.
Have a nice holiday!