We all know that the "Silly Season" can be a mixture of fun, relaxing but also stressful times. As we wind down for the year, it is important to ensure your dog also enjoys this period. Below are some tips to keep everyone safe and happy.
Remember, management is better than a cure! If you have family members visiting and lots of commotion. It is important that your dog has their own safe space to retreat to such as a crate or a quiet laundry. If your dog is over zealous with visitors, then this is the perfect time to be proactive and teach your dog some manners. Keep your dog on the lead or behind a baby gate so they do not get the chance to practice bad behaviours. Ask your visitors to participate in some simple training (you can give them their own little treat bag!) by rewarding your dog for nice decisions. Your dog will learn quicker with lots of consistency. If your dog is more than likely going to try and swipe the Christmas ham, utilise baby gates or crates to ensure they are not allowed into the kitchen or dining areas. Remember that Mat Training and Crate Training can be a godsend this time of year, if you can't supervise them closely, then management will be your best bet!
So you can imagine how exciting a giant tree in your lounge room with lots of shiny cool looking toys on it, is for our dogs. So many ornaments can be dangerous for a dog to ingest. So once again, set your dog up for success, by blocking access to the tree with a simple doggy play pen around the tree. Or if you have a smaller tree, place it up high where the dog cant reach.
We are all excited to have our dog join in on our special day, but it is important to remember, not all the foods we serve up are safe for dogs to digest. Before feeding your dog any table scraps ensure you check if they safe for dog consumption. Cooked ham/chicken/turkey bones are NOT safe for dogs, so even though your dog is staring at it and drooling, it is important you don’t end up with a massive vet bill via emergency vets on Christmas Day. Ensure you practice your dogs "leave it" cue coming up to Christmas Day, which will help when any food is left in the dogs reach or dropped on the ground. A behaviour such as "leave it" can be a lifesaver.
If you are expecting kids on Christmas Day, we must all remind ourselves then when it comes to kids and dogs, supervision is key. It might also be a great opportunity to educate visiting kids and even including them in some basic training, such as teaching them a polite sit greeting. Teaching children to leave the dog/s whilst they eat and sleep is paramount in keeping them all safe. If you will have kids running around, squealing and getting over excited, it may be a good opportunity to keep your pet separate so they don't accidently get a bit over aroused.
Just as we all start to unwind and come out of food comas from Christmas, we are then hit with New Years Eve. This night is always a massive party for us humans, however, our dogs are less likely to share our enthusiasm. New Years Eve and fireworks come hand in hand, much to our dogs despise. Please ensure if your dog is home alone on this night, they are SECURE in your home, with their own safe space to hide from the sky that is exploding, the last thing you need is to start off the new year searching for your lost pet. Always ensure that your dogs microchip and name tags are up to date, we may think they are unable to escape the yard but when faced with such fear, they can and will do everything in their power to find safety. There are many of products that may assist with your dogs fear of fireworks and storms such as:
Us humans tend to slacken off as we hit holiday mode. But it is important to remember this is the perfect time of the year to keep our dogs training strong. Training only requires 5 minutes, twice a day, it's not a massive commitment, so ensure you keep your dog on their toes and using their brain.
Going away from Christmas?
Some of us get the opportunity to travel and see family and are unable to take mans best friend with you. Make sure you book a dog sitter earlier rather than later. Remember that finding a reputable dog sitter is easy with apps such as Pet Cloud. You can find someone in your area to have your dog stay in their home, stay in your home or simply visit them once or twice a day. You will be able to enjoy your holiday knowing they are cared for and being looked after by a likeminded animal lover.
The Silly Season and scorching heat come hand in hand in Queensland. It is important that our dogs ALWAYS have access to shade and water, the heat can effect them easily and you do not want to experience any heat distress. Remember not to walk dogs in the heat of the day, if you cannot keep your hand on the hot cement for 5 seconds then it is WAY too hot for our furry friends. If you are looking for other ways to tire out your dog, check out our previous blog called "Boredom Busters in Summer" for lots of alternative ideas.
Most importantly enjoy your family and your best friend in this hectic time of year, our dogs are the best way to lower our stress levels when you have had a long day listening to a nagging mother in law. Dogs dont nag, they just simply want to be included and spend time with their favourite humans. If you plan on investing more time on training in the New Year, we have all our classes up and ready for enrolment! We look forward to seeing you and your best friend in 2019, thank you for being pawesome dog owners!
RSPCA School for Dogs Team
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