The holidays are a great time for humans, and they’re often even better with family and friends. For our dogs, however, it can be an unsettling time. Having strangers milling about the house and disrupting their daily schedules can lead to high stress levels. If your pup typically gets uncomfortable or anxious during the holidays, here are a few tips to prepare your dog for holiday guests and help them get through it:
1. Give Your Dog His Own Space
As far as dogs are concerned, their home is their territory. When strangers enter their domain, they become cautious. Even people who are familiar may cause anxiety. Some dogs are more territorial than others, but most will become agitated after being exposed long enough.
Putting dogs in a crate will typically only make them more anxious. Creating a cozy space in a spare bedroom or bathroom that is off-limits to guests is ideal. Make sure to include all of their favorite toys and necessities so that they can feel secure in the smaller space. Your pup will appreciate having their own space to retreat to, and your guests will appreciate the happy, more relaxed pup that returns to interact. Plus, this can help keep your dog safe during the holidays.
2. Keep Up Normal Habits
Do you have a standard feeding time, or go for a daily walk at a certain time? It’s tempting to change things up during the holidays, but keeping these habits intact will help your dog feel more comfortable. Even though the parade might be on, someone should still take the pup out for their walk. In fact, walks are especially useful for helping dogs work out some of that extra anxiety.
3. Watch for Children
If you’re having kids stay over, you might need to give them some doggy boundaries. They may be accustomed to their own pets, and try to interact too much and too quickly with yours. To help keep your dog comfortable, remind the kids to take it easy at first.
Changing from a child-free environment to all the hectic energy of a kid zone is a difficult transition for anyone, but especially for your dog. It can cause anxiety for everyone involved, so make sure no one is getting out of hand – or being too “ruff” with your pup.
The holidays are an enjoyable time to spend with family and friends, including the furry ones. With these tips in mind, you can help prepare your dog for holiday guests and help keep him comfortable throughout.