Mychelle Blake, MSW, CDBC, Lifestyle Contributor and Pet Behavior Expert
Dog BehaviorWith the holidays coming up, your home is likely to be experiencing more activity and guests. Depending on your dog’s personality and habits, this can be a difficult time for both your dog and your family. Planning ahead and doing some simple training with your dog can make this a more pleasant experience for everyone.
Training before the holidays
If you haven’t taught your dog any basic manners or behaviors, now’s the time to start! Even if you’re short on time, you can easily work in short training sessions a few times a day and see results quickly. Work the training into your daily life as much as you can, such as training “stays” while you are cooking in the kitchen, or asking the dog for “sits” and “downs” while you’re on the couch watching TV. The more you ask for behaviors as part of your routine, the more your dog will develop using them as a regular habit. Some of the behaviors that can be most useful during the holidays are:
Management during the holidays:
Keep your dog comfortable-- If you know your dog doesn’t care for guests, have a crate ready for him in a quiet spot, such as bedroom with a closed door. Alternatively, keep him in a place where he can feel comfortable and not interact with guests, such as a bedroom, laundry room or other area that is closed off with a door or baby gate. Never allow people to interact with your dog if the dog isn’t comfortable, as this can increase the anxiety he is feeling.
Provide distractions-- Have a variety of items ready for your dog, to occupy his time, while you visit with your guests. This can include food stuffed toys or puzzles, bones, chews, chew sticks and toys. Always give your dog an item such as this in a safe place and supervise any interaction if children will be visiting.
Exercise, exercise, exercise-- You cannot exercise your dog enough during these busy times. As the saying goes, “A good dog is a tired dog.” The more physical exercise your dog gets, the less rambunctious when people come to visit, and there’s a good chance after greeting guests he’ll be more than happy to crawl up on his bed or crate and take a nap.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Dr. Celeste Clements, DVM, DACVIM
Thursday, December 10, 2020