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Dog Training Tips for the Holiday Season

<sup>First published Dec. 3, 2018</sup> The holidays can be a confusing time for a dog. Maybe it’s your pup’s first…

<sup>First published Dec. 3, 2018</sup>

The holidays can be a confusing time for a dog. Maybe it’s your pup’s first Christmas with the family. Perhaps you have a rambunctious or skittish dog that does not appreciate all the houseguests, ringing bells, crazy decorations, or frenzy of the holiday spirit. No matter what the case is, the holidays, parties, and people celebrating can make your dog anxious, and possibly, even a bit hostile. The important thing to remember is that you can ease your pup’s anxiety or aggression with some dog training tips for the holidays!

Understand Your Dog’s Point of View

We think of the holiday season as a time to rejoice, celebrate, laugh, party, and spend time with family and friends. You decorate your home to make it inviting and festive, bake goodies, shop for presents, and enjoy having company over. Sometimes, we get a little loud and boisterous. All in good fun, of course.

Your dog will surely sense the jubilant mood of the family, but to them, the holiday season is a time of noise, crazy lights, and excited, hyper children. Strangers are coming into their territory. There are interesting boxes that sit on the floor covered in bright paper and bows that they are scolded for sniffing. And, to beat it all, there is a tree, inside, that they are not allowed to pee on, chew, or drink the water underneath!

Dog Training Tips for the Holidays

No owner wants their dog to be a downer during the holidays. After all, pups deserve to enjoy the celebrations, too. So what can you do to give them the gift of a good time?

1. Give Your Dog a Quiet, Safe Space.

If your dog is nervous about all the holiday hoopla, make sure they have somewhere to escape to – somewhere quiet and away from all the festivities. Set them up in a bedroom or utility room with a comfortable cushion or blanket. Provide water, and scatter some familiar toys around. Maybe treat them to a safe chew toy. You may even consider turning on some soft, soothing music.

2. Have Your Dog Go to Their “Climb”.

Some dogs do not wish to leave the festivities entirely but still need their own space. The Professional Dog Training Program at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts teaches dogs to go to their “climb,” generally their bed or a particular chair or area. Have your dog go to their climb and wait to be released. Your dog will be content on its climb and will be able to calm itself. The climb can be used when your guests are arriving, presents are being opened, meals are being enjoyed, or even when your dog just needs a break.

Has your dog yet to learn the “climb” command? Find out more by getting in touch with our Professional Dog Trainers.

3. Know Your Dog’s Limits.

Do not force your dog to interact with your guests if they are hesitant. Know their limits and respect them. Recognize when they are stressed or when they need some time away from the festivities. This is especially true for older dogs or puppies.

4. Stick to Your Dog’s Schedule.

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to get off schedule. We may forget to walk our dogs as often. Their feeding and elimination times may be off as we come home later than normal because of parties, shopping, and such.  Dogs thrive on routine and structure. Try to keep their routine as “normal” as possible for their sake during the holiday season.

5. Make Time for Your Dog.

I know – it’s a busy time of the year. You feel like you don’t have time to sit down for a belly rub or to play a few rounds of fetch with your furry friend. However, it’s especially important around the holidays to make a special effort to spend quality time with our dogs. They’re worth it, right? Pull them close to you as you and your family enjoy a Christmas TV special. Talk to them as you’re working around the house. (They love hearing our conversations.) Make them as much of a part of the celebration as they want to be, whether it’s hanging Christmas lights outside or building a snowman with the kids.

If you know you are going to have a long day, bring your pup to Holiday Barn Pet Resorts in either Glen Allen or Midlothian for our Dog Day Care. Your dog will have a fun and exciting day while they play. When you get them home, they will be tired and ready to rest while you attend the office Christmas party or throw one of your own. If your dog isn’t social, they could come to one of our locations for a doggy spa day or a private playtime with one of our pet-loving pack members. When you pick them up, they will be all gussied up and ready for the holiday family photo!

Happy Holidays from Holiday Barn!

Whether you are celebrating at home or away, Holiday Barn Pet Resorts is here to help you make the holiday season more enjoyable for you and your four-legged family. It is in our name after all! Call to schedule your pet’s stay or spa day today! For our Glen Allen location, call 804-672-2200, and for our Midlothian location, call 804-794-5400.

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