Christmas and dogs
First of all the team would love to take the opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas if you celebrate Yule or your denomination of holiday.
Every Christmas there are always social media posts that break the Internet, regarding something a dog has done that is deemed wrong.
So this year let's beat social media to the punch, helping dogs and their caregivers to navigate this time.
First, gifts. Gifts should always be kept out of reach so that your beloved friend cannot access them, they cannot rehearse a behaviour if there aren't any items to chew or investigate.
Dogs don't do things out of spite, mostly it is a natural curiosity and dogs love ripping paper, it meets a biological need.
Worktop surfing, the kitchen is a busy area in holiday times and the dog(s) see this as an explosion of their senses with all the amazing scents from the food. Instead of setting a dog up to fail, accessing the kitchen and reminding you of a sitcom or comedy Christmas movie, let's help the dog.
Using gates or xpens opened up across the doorway can be a huge help, no need to close the door, still a sense of inclusion and community and your dog can be enjoying pre-made enrichment.
If the layout of your home doesn't allow for this, setting up a Doggy Enrichment Land which is a safe area for your dog (non crate) and the freedom to roam and play with their own toys and enrichment still keeps them within the community of the home but unable to rehearse unwanted behaviours. (Check out the Do No Harm Dog Training and Behaviour Handbook by Linda Michaels MA for full information on Doggy Enrichment Lands and set ups, available in paperback or ebook form from Amazon https://amzn.to/3PhC74z
Not all dogs love visitors and vice versa so it is best to go to friends and family or if you do have guests to ensure your dog feels safe, secure and comfortable. Keeping visitors away from them and setting up a Doggy Enrichment Land for them. Advocate for your dog against visitors to not go near your dog or to tease your dog.
Remember that when humans drink, some humans get silly and loud and a bit scary and this can be scary for your dog, so being mindful of limits like you would around a child will really help your dog to feel safe and ensuring visitors who are drinking stay away from the dogs and be respectful and responsible whilst in your home.
Holidays can be hard with a lot of demands and trying to get things done but integrating your dog and ensuring their needs are met and they are safe will set you both up for success.
Here are some links to last year's blogs with further information as to Christmas dangers to aid you to navigate quickly depending on the topic:
Toxic foods and items https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1751924575013030&id=706073116264853
Walking your dog over the holidays https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1764607160411438&id=706073116264853
Being prepared ahead of time for emergencies https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1761526344052853&id=706073116264853
Alcohol and dogs
New Years and Christmas Fireworks
Resource Guarding https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1766287113576776&id=706073116264853
Working at your dogs pace with changes within the home https://fb.watch/hsPECxVaKN/
Enrichment on a budget https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1761957417343079&id=706073116264853
Hopefully this will help you, your dog and family to navigate the holidays, armed with information and enable you to make a plan centred around your dogs.
Google is a minefield and it is far better to have direct information to hand before and hopefully not, but at the time you need it the most.
Again, happy holidays however you do or do not celebrate, stay safe and have a lovely time with your dogs.
Image description: The first window is a green background with a Christmas tree, a fireplace with three red and white stockings with three text boxes.
The text boxes read: "Christmas can be fun for your dog too!"
"Every Christmas people get mad at their dogs,
because people have made mistakes."
"So let’s change that this Christmas, no shaming, no judgement, just the opportunity to learn and some advice to help out."
The second right hand window is a blue background of a cupboard on the floor filled with Christmas gifts. There are three text boxes that read:
" Prevent chewing first!"
" During the gift opening, give your dog(s) enrichment. put new gifts out of the way!"
"Put all gifts in a cupboard out of the way, preventing any unwanted behaviours."
The bottom left hand window has an image of a kitchen, with yellow walls, a window and a worktop and sink, with a green tile floor with a dog bowl. There is a turkey and bacon rashers on a baking tray on the worktop. The second half of the image is an orange sofa and a Wolfdog is playing on their back with a Kong on a green rug.
There are three text boxes that read:
"Prevent the opportunity to worktop surf!"
"Dogs don’t do anything out of spite or to ruin your day! Keeping your dog out of the kitchen with enrichment is your first step to avoid worktop surfing!"
The right hand bottom window has a Wolfdog with a purple Teddy bear in his mouth, behind an xpen fence, within a Doggy Enrichment Land. A green wall with the bottom of a picture frame and a music speaker. There is a destruction box filled with balls, a Kong, a lickimat, a snuffle mat, an orange bed, a bone, an ostrich twist and a loose ball.
There are two textboxes that read:
"Visitors might not be fun for your dog, use a doggy enrichment land to help your dog to feel safe!"
"Be vigilant for fireworks in your area & be ready to help your dog!"