Foolproof Guide To Having A Merry Christmas With Your Pups

December 1, 2019 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

The countdown has begun, the first advent chocolates (or miniature gin) have been snaffled, shopping is in full swing and its almost Christmas.

It can be a hectic time with lots of novelty for our dogs and especially for new puppies. People coming and going, changes in routine, unfamiliar smells (mince pie scented candles anyone?), food everywhere, strange noises and that weird twinkly green thing in the corner with the lovely, shreddable boxes underneath. Christmas can be as stressful and exciting for dogs as it is for us.

So, as with anything the 7 Ps are your friend (Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Pissy Puppy Problems). With a few weeks to go, now’s the time to plan ahead to make the festive season a pleasant time for family and friends, two and four legged alike.

Think about your plans for Christmas. What are the potential sources of worry, excitement or destruction for your dog? Does your pup find new people wildly exciting? Are they nervous about being handled by strangers? Or are they likely to steal the chocolates from your tree or the turkey from the table? Think about how you might avoid or manage these situations and prepare for them.

Our top tips for ensuring peace and goodwill for pupkind:

Calmess and rest

Make sure your dog has a comfortable, safe space to retreat to if they feel overwhelmed or just need some down time. This could be a separate room, a crate or bed or perhaps a portable travel crate if you are visiting friends or family.

Help your pup to calm themselves. Keep an eye on their stress level and have calming activities like long lasting chews, lick mats, frozen stuffed Kongs or snuffle mats at the ready.

Management and space

Put measures in place to separate your dog from guests if you need to. Whether that’s to keep feral toddlers from pulling puppy’s tail or prevent rehearsal of unwanted behaviours like jumping on guests, stealing food or shredding the presents. Puppy pens and baby gates are invaluable.

Are you likely to have doggy visitors? Multiple dogs in small spaces can be stressful for everyone, especially if they are unfamiliar with each other. Plan ahead, manage introductions in advance if you need to (or avoid them altogether if it’s not right for your dog) and make sure each dog can have their own space

Communication

Let your friends and family know if and how you’d like them to interact with your dog, particularly if they have young children. People may be used to feeding tidbits from the table, rough play or disturbing puppy when he’s resting, gently let them know if that’s not appropriate for your dog.

Training

Set training priorities to work on with your dog before the big day, for example greeting visitors calmly or settling on their bed while you eat. Choose one or two things which could help things go smoothly and train for a few minutes each day.

Enrichment

And finally, Christmas can be busy for humans. Think about how you can meet your dog’s needs if you won’t have as much time for them as usual. For example, top up exercise with bursts of active play or indoor fitness sessions if they’re likely to get shorter walks or plan enrichment activities such as puzzle feeders to keep them entertained if you have less time to train or play.

Merry Christmas from the team at Boomerang Dogs. If you need a hand keeping your dog calm and happy this Christmas drop us a message

We will have a range of natural chews, treats and enrichment items available throughout December for you to pick up if you need some distractions to keep your pup busy during the busy holiday season.

Post by the talented Caroline O’Rourke

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