The festive season can certainly become a hazardous time for our dogs. Christmas lights adorn our trees with cords hanging around all over the place. The decorations and ornaments can suddenly appear to be an enjoyable play toy and the presents that lie beneath the tree can often become something new to chew on. The Christmas season is not exactly the perfect safety zone for your dog. Even the festive foods we eat can be harmful and toxic.
Chrissy chocolate, cooked bones and spicy or herbed foods can be dangerous if your dog happens to find some dropped food on the floor. Even the environment of Christmas can be overwhelming when there are unfamiliar guests and commotion, which can cause your dog to become stressed.
Here’s how to make sure you and your pooch have a wonderful Christmas this year.
No one wants to have a bare Christmas tree with no decorations. A cheeky little trick most commonly used is to put little bells at the bottom of the tree. While this won’t stop the hazard, the sound will be an alarm that your dog is up to no good! You can at least warn your pooch to stay away from the tree if you know that they are trying to have a play with it. Try placing the bells in some old drink bottle or thick plastic, or place a chew toy beneath the tree so that they choose to munch on that instead.
Ensure that tinsel and baubles are placed high enough that they are out of reach, and keep the lights at the top of the tree. Chewing on electric wires is incredibly dangerous—no one wants to see your dog become shocked!
Try securing the trees to the ceiling if possible to prevent it from falling over. Make sure you sweep up pine needles if you have a real Christmas tree because these can be sharp and are dangerous for your dog to digest.
Having our friends and family over at Christmas is the highlight of the day. Unfortunately our dogs might not agree. Surprise guests, often in large amounts, can be incredibly stressful for dogs. The commotion can be quite hectic for a pooch and make them feel anxious and behave erratically. Keep plenty of pet toys handy to encourage your dog to play with them.
Try taking your dog on a long walk in the morning before you sit down and fill your belly with the biggest meal of the year. Using up as much of your dog’s energy as possible will leave them feeling calm and content throughout the rest of the day.
Keep dog treats on hand that they can eat when you and your guests are dining. They will want to have a bite of your food, but you can treat them with a bite to eat of their own if you have prepared dog food for the day.
At Mind My Lead, we thank you for all of your support throughout the year and we wish everyone in our community a wonderful and happy Christmas to you, your family, friends and your dog!
We know how much you love your dog. We also know that no matter how much you love your dog, there may be times where you feel like you just need a break. Dogs can be very demanding and high maintenance, especially if we choose to spoil them. Just like parents needing a small break from their own beloved children, dog owners need a little rest too. This is necessary not only for your sanity, but for the happiness of your dog, too.
Being frustrated with your dog is very common amongst dog owners. Your dog might annoy you when he or she whimpers for attention, or starts chewing on things in the house because they are bored. Maybe your dog is frustrating you because they are digging holes out in the backyard or they go to the toilet in the house instead of outside and you’re left to clean up after them.
Taking a break from your dog is incredibly important because it prevents you from building up anger or irritation that can develop over time. Without taking a break, this pent-up anger can lead you to feel resentment towards your beloved pooch, which is the last thing you and your dog would want.
There are a number of ways that we can avoid feeling bitterness towards our dogs. Firstly, whenever a dog’s behaviour starts to become erratic or unreasonable, we need to avoid venting a natural human reaction, which would be yelling aggressively or intimidating our dog.
Rather than start fuming, try to count to ten. Give yourself a break for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Returning to a state of relaxation after building tension in your body is not only good for you, but is good for your dog. This will help your pooch return to a state of being tranquil, too.
Try to prevent your dog from behaving frustratingly or erratically by giving them the correct training to develop the right behaviours and skills. The worst behaved dogs are the ones that have not been given the right attention or teachings, and their actions can leave owners like yourself feeling incredibly annoyed.
Take your dog to training classes to help them learn necessary techniques to build good behaviours. Not only does taking your dog to training school help them to embody positive actions, it is also a wonderful opportunity for you to have a short break. Training school provides your dog with the chance to meet new dogs, play with other dog owners and be given the attention that they need, which you might not always be able to give.
It’s perfectly healthy to want to spend some time without your dog by your side. Just like humans, we need to have time alone from even our best friends and family. Like us, our dogs need to have some time away. This is especially imperative if you work remotely from home or are with your dog for large portions of the day.
Go for a walk on your own sometimes or introduce your dog to some new doggy pals at doggy day care. Your dog deserves it!
No one likes that feeling when you gather your things to go out for the day and you look into the eyes of your pooch, who stares back at you with raised eyebrows and a hint of sadness in their eyes. No one enjoys having to say goodbye for the day until the moment you return. Ideally, we could take our dogs with us everywhere we go, but unfortunately that’s not a possibility. The guilt we feel when we have to leave our dogs at home alone is very common and there are ways to prevent and avoid it.
1. Introduce alone time to your dog at a young age (Independence Training)
During the socialisation phase, like a child, it is important to not always smother them with attention. You need to teach them to have their alone time. Your dog needs to understand that you won’t always be around and they can’t always expect your attention. Training your dog to behave well also involves training them to appreciate time by themselves, which will significantly assist (to) their happiness in the future.
There’s no need to skip a night away from after-work drinks or the gym to come home to your dog. Regularly coming home at the same time and teaching your dog to have an expectation of when they will be fed or walked can actually cause them to become anxious and stressed when they expect you because they will begin to anticipate something and become uncomfortable when they wait.
So don’t feel guilty about leaving them alone – it’s actually good for them!
2. Provide chew toys or treats
Keeping your dog occupied is the best way to keep them happy and prevents them from becoming bored or lonely. Buy chew toys or bones that your dog can chew on throughout the day. This is also really great for their teeth. Try hiding treats around the backyard for your dog so they remain entertained. Beware of your dog digging up the garden though!
3. Take them outside for exercise
A tired dog is a contented one, so try to walk them in the morning before work or your outing if you can. When a dog has the exercise he or she needs for the day, they will feel more comfortable and they tend to behave much better. This is not only great for your dog but it’s the perfect way for you to get a workout in and feel relaxed throughout the day!
4. Bring them to Doggie Day Care
The best way to avoid the guilt of leaving your dog at home alone is by leaving them at doggie day care. They can learn new skills, tricks and behaviours, enjoy the company of other people and make new doggie friends. You will feel guilt-free, knowing that they are being looked after all day while you’re gone. You don’t have to take them every day that you’re away, and this can be a way of giving your beloved pooch the attention that they deserve.