It starts with decorating... then you begin making plans about who is hosting dinner... how many people will be there... who's bringing the green bean casserole? Who's watching the kids while dinner is made? Where will everyone sleep?
But what about the dogs?
Suddenly there's this realization that pretty much everyone attending the holiday party at your place owns a dog. And now you're tasked with figuring out what to do with an entire pack of hounds.
You know that your dog is wild without all the chaos. And you know that most of your friends and family have dogs that are also kinda crazy. So what are you going to do?
Here are some options to keep the dogs safe and happy during the holiday festivities.
Plan ahead. If you know what your plans are, you can avoid a lot of problems. If you're the one with the not-so-well-behaved dog and you're invited somewhere, plan to leave the dog at home, hire a sitter, or find a trusted boarding facility. Planning for holidays means planning out weeks or even months in advance as many pet sitters and boarding facilities book up quickly for the holidays.
Set clear boundaries and expectations for your family and friends. This could mean letting folks know that because of the full house and chaos, that perhaps they should opt for having their dog go to their trusted boarding facility during the event. You could also set the rule that when things get hectic, everyone have a crate for their dog so that they can be contained during certain things like mealtimes, gift unwrapping and other rowdy events. This will allow time for the dogs (and all the people) to de-escalate from the craziness.
Set clear boundaries and expectations for the dogs! Not allowing things like jumping, climbing over the furniture, snatching food from people, or investigating all the fun new decorations and gifts scattered about should be a priority.
Don't rely on your guests or hosts to correct naughty behavior from your dog. It's up to YOU to keep an eye on your pup. If you can't do that, bring a crate and set a timer on your phone so that you don't forget about Fido during your festivities. Take 10 to 20 minute breaks outside with your dog, allowing them to potty, stretch their legs and enjoy the smells of a new location or of their own backyard without any distractions.
Consider how the dogs are feeling. While you may look forward to the parties, all the food, the loud noise, the decorations, and the social gatherings, your dog may not feel the same way.
Too many people force their dogs into very uncomfortable situations and expect them to be on their best behavior. If you've never trained your dog around any of the things listed above, don't expect them to be perfect. And be sure to give them a break from all the festivities.
If you'd like to be prepared and actually include your dog in all your holiday fun, click the link below to schedule a call with our trainer. You can start working on this any time of year!