We were at a new Home Dog Training client in Suwanee yesterday working with his two -year-old Pit Bull. I just love Pit Bulls and Mush Mouth was a great dog. She was a little head strong and was always jumping on the young kids. Because so many people are afraid of them, having your Pit Bull constantly jumping on children is not the best situation for most families. Luckily, Mush Mouth responded very well to our training and understood that she shouldn’t jump. She quickly calmed down and became a relaxed and wonderful dog. Our clients were thrilled at the results and had one more question. Christmas was just days away and they had been preparing Mush Mouth for the festivities. They were wondering if we had any last minute suggestions to make sure Christmas is great for the entire family, including Mush Mouth.
The Holiday Season has been in play for a while, but for many of us, it is now “show time”. Robin and I don’t want to overwhelm you with an endless list of “watch out for’s”, so we just want to focus on a few items that will come into play in the next two days. Here we go…
- Your Christmas Tree:
- You are probably finishing decorating your Christmas Tree. If your dog is “ball crazy”, don’t use Christmas balls on your tree. He will pull your tree down as soon as you finish decorating it.
- If your dog is becoming overly focused on the sparkly tinsel, take it off the tree. Also see what happens when the tree lights are on. That often makes the tinsel sparkle and will get your dog’s focus. It he is too focused, take the tinsel off.
- Eating tinsel can possibly be harmful to your dog.
- Christmas presents bring new objects and smells into the house. Right about now, you are probably putting out the rest of those presents around your tree.
- The new sights and smells can stimulate your dog to go after the presents and possibly “steal them” for himself.
- Do not put your dog’s presents under the tree. He could break other presents in his haste to try and find his.
- Make sure you dog has toys and goodies on the far side of the room from the Christmas tree.
- Put your presents closely around the base of your tree. This will minimize the visual distraction and will make it very difficult to “rumble through the presents”.
- In the event you see your dog start to go to the tree and presents under the tree, correct him with a low toned “No” and direct him back to you. Divert his immediate attention by playing with him for a few minutes.
- Christmas Dinner:
- Do not feed your dog from the table or give him anything that will be on the dinner table even if you are in the kitchen. As soon as you have done it once, you have told him it is OK to demand food from you. If he starts to come towards you as you are sitting in your chair, ignore him. If he continues to demand some food from you, stand up and tell him “No” in a firm, low tone.
- Do not leave food unattended. Your dog will think that you are relinquishing ownership of the food and it is now OK for him to have it.
- As you are having your Christmas Dinner, feed you dog his dinner in his bowl in his spot. This will redirect him away from you and your guests. It will also fill him up. If he isn’t hungry, he won’t be as demanding for your food.
- Remove foods such as raisins and fruit cake from your menu. These foods are poisonous to dogs. He might accidentally eat something with these in it and become sick.
- Last Few Thoughts:
- When people are over, keep your dog on a six foot leash. If your dog starts to become “crazy” or go somewhere inappropriate, you can easily step on the end of the leash and direct him to an appropriate location. This little trick allows you to maintain maximum control and focus while using minimum effort.
- The kids and “juvenile” adults should not play crazy with your dog inside the house. This tells your dog that it is OK to be nuts. That is not a good thing with a house filled with food and family and presents and “breakables”.
Simply “use your head”. Do this and you will have a great Christmas Eve and Day with your family and your dog.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over fifteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.