Christmas can be a fun and exciting time for all the family, with presents, parties, delicious food and plenty of cuddles for our dogs! But with normal routines out of the window and more strangers about, Christmas time may mean your furry friend gets up to all kinds of mischief.
In fact recent research revealed that two in five (40%) of dog owners notice a change in their canine’s mood during the Christmas period, and that often comes down to stress caused by people they don’t know or loud noises such as fireworks or music, causing them to act out.
That’s why this festive season, the team of experts over at tails.com, have shared their top tips to help manage your dogs behaviour, so that Christmas remains a fun and enjoyable time for you and your dog.
1. Keep Their Routine as Normal as Possible
Christmas can completely change not only your own routine but your pups as well, so despite the festivities, it’s important to try and keep as many things as normal as possible, to help them feel more secure and settled.
To make sure their behaviour stays in check over the holidays, keeping meals, exercise and other activities on the same schedule, despite all the commotion, is the key to having a happy pup this Christmas.
Although our pets are able to adjust habits over time like when the clocks go back, sudden changes including being fed at different times can cause rumbling tummies, worries and anxiety in our pooches that make them more likely to misbehave or act out around guests.
Sticking to regular walking routines will also help reduce anxiety around the festive period.
2. Give Them a Safe Space Retreat Away From House Guests
Even pets that love being around new people can become irritable when they are tired, which means they might display unfriendly or mischievous behaviour around guests. Therefore, it is important to provide your pooch with a safe space away from the busy festivities that will give them a chance to relax.
Make sure that your pet can access this area whenever they please, as well as have the option to join the party again when they are feeling more comfortable. Feeling like they are locked away from you and other people in your household could lead to frustration and anxiety.
Additionally, it is also important that you fill their relaxing space with home comforts including blankets and toys that will help them fully relax after hours of excitement.
3. Pay Them Plenty of Attention Throughout The Day
With parties in full swing, it is easy to get caught up in conversations or festive games with friends and family, but that doesn’t mean that your furry friend should be forgotten about.
In fact, your pet may end up showing hostility towards you and your guests if they feel like they are being pushed aside. To reassure your dog and make them feel more comfortable, set aside some time throughout the day to play with them or make a fuss when there are fewer people around.
4. Make Sure They Get Enough Exercise
Making sure that your dogs get enough exercise on Christmas Day and over the festive period is a great way to keep their behaviour in check while the craziness plays out.
Not only is taking your dog for a walk a great way to get them involved in the festive fun, but the fresh air and ability to run around will also help keep their minds stimulated, which means they are more likely to stay calm around guests.
You may even want to add in an extra walk on days where things will be busier like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. The extra time outside will allow them to unwind from anxieties they might already be feeling.
5. Keep Food and Water Bowls Full
Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you are off the hook as the owner of your pooch. It’s even more important that you spend quality time with pets as you may be out of the house for longer than normal due to parties and seeing family.
To ensure that your dog doesn’t misbehave, keep your pet well-fed and watered, and consider leaving them out of the room while you’re eating your Christmas dinner, so they won’t be tempted to nab a piece of turkey off your plate.
If you are planning on leaving them for a longer time than you usually would, always make sure to fill up water bowls and check they have been fed before you leave, to ensure your pooch stays as relaxed as possible while you are gone.