Christmas with your dog!

by Imogen Lloyd // November 2017

Christmas with your dog!

Here are some tips to ensure you and your dog have a happy Christmas.

Christmas countdown

  • Let your dog in on the advent fun and give them a treat each morning when you open your advent calendar.

  • Don’t be surprised if your dog is a bit wary of the tree and all of the shiny, glittery decorations, especially if this is their first Christmas. Just let them get used to them in their own time and ideally give them a space with minimal decorations.

  • Make sure no-one puts edible gifts under the tree! Dogs have brilliant noses and they will have great fun ripping open the wrapping to get to the food.

 Pawsome presents

  •  Food – could be treats for training, food to go inside food toys or long-lasting chews.

  • Food toys – see our previous blog about food toys for ideas. There are a wide range of toys for getting different behaviours, some encourage running around, some encourage settling and some are great puzzles that make them use their brains. There’s also a variety in price including toys made from things you probably already have in your recycling box. Why not do a variation on a busy box and wrap up some treats in Christmas wrapping paper for your dog to unwrap!

  • Toys – most dogs love playing with toys but they probably have a preferred type of toy. Some dogs love soft toys that they can rip open, some love playing tuggy, others love balls. If you’ve got a dog that loves destroying toys then rather than getting a tough indestructible toy that they probably won’t enjoy playing with, get cheap childrens soft toys from a charity shop and let them rip them open. Just make sure they don’t have any plastic eyes or anything they could choke on. If you’re dog loves tuggy then you can make excellent tug toys by cutting an old jumper into strips and plaiting them together. Or if your dog loves balls, how about a ball wanger so you can have a great game of fetch and/or a ball on a rope so they get the fun of retrieving the ball and having a game of tug with you too.

  • Something to keep them warm – whether they need a new coat to keep them snug on their winter walks or perhaps a new comfy bed.

The day itself

Christmas is a very exciting day for everyone, but try to remember to set your dog up for success.

  • If there are presents left on the floor then your dog might think that these are presents for him so don’t be surprised if they get chewed. Try to keep anything precious out of your dog’s reach like normal.

 

  • If there are tempting chocolates/snacks left on a sofa then your dog might not be able to avoid temptation. This could result in not only you missing out on your yummy biscuits, but it could also have fatal repercussions for your dog. Make sure to keep all food you don’t want your dog eating well out of their way.

  • Give them appropriate activities to do. Whilst people are opening presents the dog can be kept busy unwrapping their own or eating a chew. Whilst cooking, keep the dog from under your feet by giving them a food toy or getting someone to take them for a walk or play. Whilst eating don’t be surprised if your dog displays some begging behaviour, I mean can you imagine if you had to watch everyone else eat a Christmas dinner! You could cook a little bit extra for them and give them a mini Christmas dinner but ideally in a food toy so it takes them a while to eat it all. Alternatively, hide their normal food all around the house so they spend a while using their nose to hunt out all of their food.

A great gift for both yourself and your dog would be the Dog School training course. The course is £50 and lasts 6 weeks but what you will learn could mean you and your dog live a more harmonious life for the next 15 years. Visit www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk to find your nearest Dog School and sign up to begin building a better bond with your dog today! Alternatively email us at eastangliadogschool@dogstrust.org.uk, call us on 01480 277987 or follow us on twitter @DogSchoolAnglia or Instagram at dogschool_east_anglia!