Well its that time of year again, last year you wouldn't believe the amount of contact I had regarding Dogs either acting out at Christmas or a Dog had bitten someone. So lets break this down. Dogs don't understand what Christmas is. They don't understand why the house is being changed around and why new items are coming into the house and why they are suddenly being shooed or not allowed in areas where normally they are allowed. This causes a feeling of stress. When a human is stressed, they are snappy, rude or slam things around. All a Dog can do is communicate with barking, growling, their body language or by in some instances. Biting.
So Step 1, we have changed the house, Dogs are loosing their space and some Dogs feel contantly told off.
Step 2. The closer we come to Christmas, the house is getting busier, theres more excitement and stress coming from the humans, which in turn reflects on the Dog, Dogs are really sensitive to how humans feel and human behaviour.
Step 3. Chirstmas Day comes, people come around, alcohol is flowing, people are getting loud and the Dog either becomes boisterous to match the excitement level from the humans or they shrink away from it and recoil. Some Dogs find their own space and will stay out of the way, but what about the Dogs who have found their own space and have humans coming up to them, and invading their space. Over feeding them food they would not normally have and not being able to sleep it off in peace? Think, can you be grumpy when your full? Also Dogs do not like the smell of alcohol and when their humans drink, they don't understand the new behaviour from their human or the smell. Bearing in mind the sense of smell on a Dog is so intense that Scientists believe that they cannot smell our normal DNA through the Alcohol, bearing in mind that when we sweat the smell is also being secreted through our pores and not just on the breath. This is alot for a Dog. Imagine being curled up in your own bed, you can't speak only bark or growl. Then imagine all these visitors come into your room and lean over you whilst your in bed, their scruffing up your hair or trying to give you food you know your not normally allowed to have, or they are trying to pull you out your bed to entertain them. Imagine how that would feel. Now turn and look at your Dog and imagine what this must feel like for them.
So to break it down this is a lot of stress and confusion for the Dog. This year please make your Dog a safe place, please ensure all visitors be it Adults or Children give the Dog space. Please protect your Dog from being harrassed and or backed into a corner. Take time out to walk your Dog or play with them in their own space. But most of all protect them. Have a great Christmas but please look out for your Dog :)
For Miyagis Dog Training