Well, we have bought all the toys and treats for our canine loved ones, now what? Let’s have a calm, restful, easy going holiday.
OMG, WHAT ARE YOU KIDDING? WHAT PLANET DO YOU HAVE CHRISTMAS ON?
Holidays are stressful, nothing else to say,that’s just the way it is. Well, no not really, there’s a lot to say about holiday stress. There’s a lot to do if we chose to be ahead of the stress instead of just reacting. This is the best way to help yourself and your pet though these times.
There is a lot of information out there about the dangers of Christmas trees and too much turkey: Christmas Safety Tips. That is all very important. Today we will talk about what to do for the holidays to keep the peace in the canine house.
People get the wrong ideas about stress and because of that, they have a hard time thinking about it with an open mind. Stress isn’t always mean a bad thing. Stress can be felt in the most loving of families and stable homes. Personally, when I go to a Cubs game, I stress out to the max. Why? Because it’s about the most fun I can have in 4 hours and I LOVE it, and it stresses me. Wonderful stress, still stress.
The holiday season almost always comes with new or yearly stressors, dancing eleves, parties, shopping, money concerns, company, trees in the living room, and ten foot blow up Santas . You may be spending more time at home or you may be out all the time shopping and going to parties. You may have out-of-town guests or you may leave. Your dog is either home with a sitter or at a kennel which most likely will add stress to their lives. Even if Fluffy and Muffy are with Auntie Jen who’s been taking care of them forever, (you always wonder if they’d secretly rather live with Auntie Jen), Muffy and Fluffy may still feel stress around the changes. Even if your dog is rock solid, with a rock solid temperament, remember, if you’re stressed for the holidays it’s likely Fido is also. Dogs pick up on our energy, even the smallest change, imagine what the holidays do.
OK, now that we acknowledge it, let’s do something about it. It’s often better to be pro-active with our dogs then reactive. So if we plan some activities to off-set the stress this can help. Special or extra play sessions can be a wonderful way to help your dog use up stressful energy. Long walks, maybe an extra walk on Thursday, if you know you’ll be out shopping on Friday. Interactive toys and frozen KONGS How to Make A Frozen KONG can help Ruffy while you are wrapping presents.
Leave a list out for your house guests about the “funny secret little rules” that go with your specific canine household. That way your guests will know in advance that the gates will always need to be closed, instead of left open.
Here’s what my list would look like.
- The front door should always be closed and entrances and exits should be quick and mindful of a certain Beagle lurking close by. If at all in doubt, ask her to go into her crate while the UPS, FEDEX, or any other person come to the door. Close the crate until it is safe again, then let the said Beagle out of her crate.
- Please don’t pet the jumping dog. Pet her when all four of her feet are on the floor. We will do out best to manage this, but doorbells ring, phones ring and the soup boils all at the same time.
- All food should remain in the kitchen. Please if you have food in your suitcase, either bring it to the kitchen or close your suitcase. All eating by small children should happen at the tables or counters. No food should be left in low areas.
- All outside gates should be closed at ALL times. When the dogs are in the outside yard they are to be supervised 100%.
- Any valuable or irreplaceable items should be left on high shelves or in your room with doors closed. They are great dogs, but they still get the zoomies and they fly.
- Children under 8 should always have grown-up supervision around the dogs.
- Please do not yell at our dogs. They have communication skills, if you want to know how, just ask.
These few ideas can help keep the stress way down in your house. They are simple, and helpful. Make a list, even if you don’t use it for your guests. Being aware of what could happen is a great first step to managing a possible issue.
Have a great and peaceful holiday to you and your canine family.