top of page

A Guide to Pawsitively Perfect Pups Over the Holidays

Holiday Tips to Set Your Dog Up for Success
Dog Licking Lips

Worried about your dog causing chaos during the Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays? We all want perfect pup behavior over the holidays. But if you are concerned, don't worry, you're not alone! Among the challenges faced by dog owners over the holidays, jumping up on guests, begging for food and opportunistic food thievery top the list. But fear not, with a little planning and the right approach, you can manage your dog's behavior and make Thanksgiving enjoyable for everyone, including your furry friends.

  1. Let's start with the jumping issue. Teach an alternative behavior to replace jumping.

Dog Settling on a Mat
Dog Settling on a Mat

Instead of simply saying "No" or "Off," which can be confusing for dogs, and ineffective, try teaching them a replacement behavior.

  • The "Sit" command works wonders for greeting people and getting positive attention. Have your dog on a leash and ask them to sit when guests arrive. Having the dog on the leash allows you to control their environment. Don't let your excited pup run up to greet guests, instead reinforce your pup for staying by your side.

  • If your dog knows Settle or place that is even better. It is a great alternative to standing at the door while guests arrive. It not only calms your dog's energy but also makes them more approachable for your guests.

  • Ask your guests not to touch your dog if they are jumping or better yet, until your dog gets permission to greet.

And if your dog needs a little extra practice before the big day, have some treats and your clicker ready to encourage the desired behavior. For locals, now is the time to schedule training sessions , focusing on door manners and greeting guests, to be ready for Christmas!

Nice to Meet You!
Dog Shake

2. Make sure you have interactive toys & long lasting treats on hand. Mental enrichment is a great way to occupy your dog if they start getting antsy. It'll give them something to do, reducing the chances of them getting into trouble. If you have multiple dogs or young children around, you also might want to consider some quiet time for your dog, letting them out once they've finished playing with their toys.

Dog Licking Toy
Dog Enrichment Toys are Great for Mental Stimulation

My favorite long lasting treats are Himalayan Yak Chews. These are also treats that I only use during special times when I want to keep my dogs occupied. We only use on special occassions, so they get my dogs attention right away.

Other long lasting enrichment products I really like are :

  • Lick Mat (freeze it to make it last longer).

  • Triple Decker Lick Mat is super long lasting. I love to put wet food, pumpkin & peanut butter mash and broth and freeze.

  • Starmark Treat Wheel These are very long lasting and you can buy new inserts when they run out. Look at the sizes to get the appropriate size for your dog.

  • Planet Orbee - Maze Treat / Kibble Dispensing Ball - If you feed your dog kibble you can put their meal kibble in and feed your dog when you serve dinner. This will prolong your pups dinner and eliminate any unwanted begging at the table.

Dog eating Bone
Long Lasting Chew Toys are the Best

3. Don't forget the importance of exercise! To help wear down your dog's energy level, incorporate daily walks leading up to Thanksgiving. You can also hire an experienced dog walker to ensure your furry friend gets the exercise they need. The day of Thanksgiving yiou will want to make sure you dog gets a good walk, a game of fetch or whatever you do get out their extra energy.

Dog FItness
Exercise gets out excess energy

4. Stay calm yourself. Dogs are very empathic and they react to our mood. It is a challenge for any dog not to react to our excitement levels. Try it. Talk in your best Eyore sullen voice, and notice your dogs reaction and body language. Now talk to yourself in your best super over the top excited cheerleader voice. Notice the difference from from tail wagging, to excitement level to body language.. Your dog may have jumped and really engaged when you spoke excitedly compared to talking in a very drab voice. Now think of the excitement levels when your guests arrive and how that will affect your dog.

Stay Calm and Puppy On
Calm woman holding Dog

5. Feed your dog when you eat. This occupies your dog while you are eating and takes the temptation to beg at the table away. You can even use one of the enrichment products above for their meal.

The great news, is that once the initial thrill of the arrivals are over, most dogs calm right down and go right back to being their normal-selves and relax the festivities away. Additionally, engaging your dog in training practice, interactive toys, and brain games will tire them out mentally as well.

With these tips, you'll be well on your way to a harmonious and enjoyable Thanksgiving celebration, both for you and your four-legged family members. Happy feasting!

5 views0 comments


bottom of page