Holiday Manners Matter

The Holiday snowball has started. You know, that time right after Halloween when the Thanksgiving and Holiday festivities don’t really stop until at least after New Year’s. It’s the most wonderful, and often overwhelming, time of the year. Not only is this season often stressful for humans, but your dog can feel it too!

So, what’s the best way to help your dog (and ultimately you) have an easier, more relaxed holiday season? We have a few human tricks that can help keep your dog on his best behavior and stress-free if you’re hosting a Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering.

Consider Your Pup’s Personality

For starters, make sure you’re planning the day with your dog’s unique personality in mind. Is she normally a lap dog who will try to sit with everyone, even Aunt Gertie who is “more of a cat person?” Is he hyper and rambunctious, happy to play with all of the kiddos who come over? Speaking of kids… will your nephew be into his tail-pulling phase around that time, meaning your pup might be happier in a quiet area away from the family? Keep in mind how your dog may interact with your guests so you can plan your dog’s itinerary accordingly.

Walk it Out

For starters, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise on the day of the event. A dog who has worked will ultimately be happier during any festivity you host. Take an extra-long walk before anyone comes over or throw the ball a few more times than you might normally that day. Naturally, if your dog is tuckered out from playing, it will be too exhausted to overwhelm your guests with their energy.

Use Your Training

Ultimately, don’t forget to use all of your Off-Leash K9 Training commands! Here are a few examples of how you can use all of the basics to make your pup the perfect party guest:

  1. Start by using “Off” to keep your dog from barking at the doorbell or jumping on your guests as they walk in. Bonus if you can throw a nice bow on them and have them “Sit” or “Extended Sit,” working as the Official Party Greeter. We don’t want any dusty pawprints on fancy outfits!
  2. “Off” is also perfect to prevent any counter surfing, both while you are cooking or while guests walk through your buffet dinner setup.  This article teaches you more about the “off” command, including videos on how to teach your dog from jumping on people or onto furniture.
  3. Use “Down” and “Extended Down” to keep your pup in a location away from the commotion, and “come” when they’re calm and ready to introduce themselves to the party guests.
  4. “Place” and “Extended Place” are perfect to keep them calm, and away from any busy activity that might be overwhelming for both your dog or your guests. It’s also a good one to use if your dog is trying to be a vacuum cleaner under the table where kiddos might drop some crumbs. Learn more about everyday situations made so much easier with the “place” command here.

Crates are A-OK

Finally, when there is just too much overwhelm, it’s okay to settle your dog into its crate. Remember, “crate training takes advantage of your dog’s natural instincts to seek out a comfortable, quiet and safe place when the environment around them becomes too loud or overwhelming” (Humane Society). It isn’t a punishment, it’s just a way to maintain some semblance of order.

And that’s all it takes! Just a few easy steps and you and your dog will be full of holiday cheer. Too bad we don’t have such an easy cheat sheet for how to handle your in-laws, huh?

Happy Howl-iday season everyone!

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