Kids & Dogs.... Christmas Chaos?

The combination of kids and dogs at Christmas time can be joyful but it can also be challenging and potentially stressful – for both dogs & humans. Picture the scene on Christmas Day…..excited laughter, screams of delight as the wrapping paper is ripped off presents, half eaten selection boxes lying around, noisy toys that beep and buzz, perhaps a remote controlled car zooming across the floor, a tree in the corner with flashing lights, music playing, crackers being pulled. To a puppy or energetic young dog this can all be wildly exciting and result in behaviours like barking, jumping up, chasing and nipping. To a more nervous dog it can be overwhelming making them anxious and less predictable. Even the calmest dog can find the change in routine and all the excitement unsettling. The combination of an overexcited, or overwhelmed, dog and exuberant children is one with the potential to go wrong. So what can you do to ensure a safe and harmonious Christmas for both dogs and children? Think about your dog’s personality. What will excite him? What will scare him? For example a noise sensitive dog will be happier out of the room when the champagne corks are popping. Give your dog a long walk in the morning – a tired dog is more likely to relax and settle Keep puppies or excitable dogs out of the room while presents are being opened and give them an interactive feeding toy like a Kong or a chew toy to keep them occupied. Keep puppies or excitable dogs on lead or out of the room when visitors arrive. Reward them for calm behaviour around guests. Make sure visitors, especially visiting children, don't crowd your nervous dog or invade his space. Make sure your dog has a quiet, safe place to go where they won’t be disturbed if they need to calm down or just get away from it all. Ensure dogs and children are always adequately supervised – lack of supervision is the number one factor in dog bites to children. Make sure food isn’t left lying within the dog’s reach and make sure visitors, especially visiting children, know not to feed your dog. Taking a few simple steps like these can help ensure a peaceful, relaxed and happy Christmas for you and your dog. If you need help or advice contact me at Cheers  x