HAPPY ALMOST CHRISTMAS!
I know things can be super busy leading up to Christmas. Weare busy last minute gift shopping, putting together a dinner menu and starting to prepare, undertaking a massive early spring cleaning, etc. But I cannot stress the importance of tiring your pup out before the big day arrives. Make sure to get your furry friend extra exercise the day of the holiday celebration and the night before. Tripling the walk length, daycare in the morning, or dog on dog playdates are great ways to tire your pup out. A tired pup is less likely to bark, feel stressed, be extra nippy, jumpy or over enthusiastic during the holidays.
Here are some common X-mas/ holiday issues and how to get through them!
Holiday time is not the time to train! To do training before the holiday, practice ignoring the begging ( jumping,scratching, barking) and teaching 'go to your bed' with a reward- bone or interactive toy). Never feed from the table!
Manage by feeding your dog its dinner in interactive toys atthe same time you eat your holiday dinner. Have the dog in crate ( three sides covered?) or in a containment area. Good toys are:Kong, Busy buddy twist n treat, bully stick, flossy, merrick texas toothpick, merrick bone with marrow.
New dog introduction ( if your company is bringing their dog!) :
Make sure the dogs meet on neutral territory. IE in front yard or out on street, lobby, etc. Let them spend a few minutes sniffing and saying hello. Enter the Apartment or house together. Allow the new dog to check out and sniff the home on leash.
Before dogs enter home make sure food bowls and high-value toys are picked up as a precaution. If you want to feed them or give them bones during mealtime, have them separated by baby gate or each on leash tethered to different areas. ( within eyesight of owners).
If they become friends and are playing, making sure to break up the play every 15 minutes or so with a few commands to give each pup a breather. After 45minutes of on and off playing, it is a good idea to separate them and allow them to rest before playing again.
Keeping up with housebreaking in a new environment ( if you have a young pup and are bringing it somewhere new) :
If you have a young pup and are taking them somewhere new,make sure to bring their crate/playpen, some treats, toys, and bones with you.
If you aren't already, make sure to monitor the water ( ie 6water intakes a day) and mark them off along with food intake and eliminations.This is so you have an awareness of when she needs to relieve herself and when she can be trusted a bit.
It is best to make sure you get a pee/poop before enteringthe new home. When you enter the home,walk your pup around on leash to get it used to the new surroundings. But remember, your pup is not to be trusted!So when you can't watch him/her, make sure she is tethered to you or in containment area with bone and toys. When you think it is pee/poop time, take her outside or lead her to the wee pad. Reward for going in the correct location!!
Manage: Good to Manage when you have a large excitable dog, and when many guests (including children, elderly, etc) arrive at once.
Have your pup on leash at a 5-10 foot distance from the door. If wearing appropriate harness, step on the leash. As guests arrive have them calmly say hello for good behavior ( ie a sit, lay down, or being calm). When everyone is settled at table or living area, allow dog off the leash and give a bone or interactive toy. Instruct everyone to ignore dog until he/she is calm.
Train: Suggested if you have a few willing guests who don't mind one or two initial jumps and will follow your instructions.
Allow dog to greet guest. They can say hi calmly without making eye contact or bending down to dogs level if dog approaches appropriately. If dog jumps, they should turn their back on dog or take a big step back so dog falls back towards ground. Then ask for a 'Sit' or just YESthe appropriate behavior. When dog complies they may say a quick calm hello, and then continue to walk into home. If dog jumps again, repeat. Make sure guest doesn't use their hands to push dog down, or say 'off', 'no' 'stop' etc.
If it is too overwhelming for them, owner should call dog back with a touch, and do a 'go find it' (toss treat in opposite direction) as guest walks into home and settles in.
*Barking or Shyness* Note: Barking is an indication of stress.
Manage: For a dog that is older, one that barks/lunges/ has anxiety when guests walk in door.
Have dog behind a gate, in crate, in another room with bone and interactive toy during the arrival hour. When everyone is settled, allow dog out. Give each person a reward so when your dog approaches them they can offer something yummy!
Train: Fora younger dog who is a bit hesitant
Have a bag of treats hanging on your front door. As each new person enters, have them bend down sideways and offer treat out to pup with extended hand. No eye contact should be made. If dog is too nervous to take it from guests hand, have them toss it so they can still make the association.
Create a “Safe Room" for your pup. This should e be a room away from the party or a gated area with a bed and/or crate, classical music playing, lights dim,and a variety of toys and chews. If your dog seems stressed or unhappy, put them here for a couple of hours and let them relax separately.
If you would like to give Dog Training with Shelby Semel Dog Training as a gift to a family member or friend, you can purchase a session online and we will send you a certificate!