The Secret to a Well Behaved Dog During the Holidays

The Secret to a Well Behaved Dog During the Holidays

You spent your time prepping and planning for those you care about during a time of year when in reality, you don’t have a minute to spare. Everything is finally just so and you’re awaiting your guests. Or maybe like me, you like to live life on the edge and are rushing to pull it all together. Isn’t it funny how it usually comes together just in time? Usually. When your loved ones find refuge from the cold in your home, they’re warmly greeted not only by you, but by delicious smells wafting from the kitchen, and gently by your delightful dog, tartan bow and all.

We all love our dogs so much. It’s normal to want others to see what we see and enjoy them too. You may have a vision of your guests adoring your pup’s silly antics until he settles in for a nap on the hearth. Is it just a pipe dream? Absolutely not! I want to cover some tips to use in the short term to help settle your dog during this holiday season and also share some pointers on preparing and working toward making this vision a reality next time.

So, why does your dog go especially bonkers during the holidays? If you take a step back, it’s evident. The holidays are full of excitement. There are lots of people coming and going who aren’t usually at your house. There are tempting smells and the goodies from which they emanate everywhere your dog turns. Not to mention, there is just the rowdily happy energy of the holidays in general. On top of all this, what has your dog been up to lately? Are they spending less time romping outside because of the cold? Are they getting as much attention from you these last few weeks as you rush around? If these questions are speaking to you, you are in the majority. Our pups have been waiting for some excitement and their turn. It’s easy to see how when the festivities finally begin, your dog could be overstimulated by this deluge of information.

So how can you alleviate this? Offer the exercise and mental stimulation your dog is craving before your guests arrive. This way, your guests are not used as an outlet. They are no longer the sole the providers the stimulation your dog has been waiting for. Here are a variety of tactics to squeeze in mental stimulation and exercise:

  • Daycare is an option that hits both marks. Your dog will go home not only physically exercised from a day full of play, but mentally as well. Interacting with the staff and other dogs, playing with toys, and in addition, the exploration of the playroom, yard, and equipment all serve as mental stimulation.
  • Weather permitting, visit a dog park. Dog parks are less of a controlled environment compared to daycare, but if you’re up to supervising play and stepping in if needed, they can be an excellent outlet for both exercise and mental stimulation.   
  • Walk your dog or hire someone else to. This one may seem obvious, but is often overlooked by those with yards. Even if your dog loves to run around in the yard, they will benefit from walks. Your dog knows every inch of your yard and a walk serves as a wonderful adventure for them with lots of mental stimulation–new sights, sounds, and smells galore.
  • Play with your dog. Whether frisbee is their thing or they are huge fans of the jolly ball, see if you can get your dog to play hard. Along with dashing around, the excitement of playing with you and prolonged exercise will do much more for your dog than their usual moseying around the yard.
  • Mental stimulation tools and toys like a Kong, Buster Cube, snuffle mat, or even a hearty, long lasting chew are not only useful for mental stimulation before your guests arrive, but can also be a great way to keep your pup occupied during the festivities. Stop by the Lodge if you want some suggestions on what would be best specifically for your dog.
  • I may have saved the best for lasttraining. I don’t mean spend the last few days before the holidays trying to expedite a full course of obedience training. Practice what your dog knows, even if it’s just “sit.” During training, you’ll be giving your dog undivided time to bond with you, rigorous mental stimulation, and refreshers on commands that you can try to put to use around your guests. Incorporate training into outdoor play or a walk and you really have all your bases covered! This is one of the reasons we love to practice training during daycare. It’s an excellent way to provide an extra dose of attention and mental stimulation.

So you think you can make it through this holiday season, but you adore the idea of a calmer, more well adjusted dog during future family affairs? Along with making a goal to hit these exercise and mental stimulation requirements, training is absolutely the most indispensable you tool can use. More times than you think, dogs simply don’t understand what is expected of them or they receive mixed messages through lack of consistency. However, training is not only about showing your dog what you’d like them to do, it’s about strengthening the bond you have with your dog. It’s a fusion of this clear communication and a strong bond that produces the behavior that you’re seeking. At the Lodge, we believe dog training should be based on a relationship of trust, not fear. For that reason, we use positive reinforcement, redirection and luring to train dogs. 

Basic obedience training is the answer to a slew of behavioral issues. Instead of trying to address each of these issues individually, sometimes all a dog needs is simply training in general. When basic obedience doesn’t quite cut it, private training can provide a personalized game plan to tackle issues. On the other hand, if beginner training classes go well, moving on to more advanced classes, especially ones that are a blast like Rally, can continue to strengthen the communication between you and your dog and fortify your bond. Wish you could start, but don’t have the time? Consider day or boarding school and then practice at home to set your dog up for success.

Our class prices are changing in 2018, but if you sign up for any class, including 2018 classes, before January 1st, we’re offering 2017 pricing.

Here’s what training Cold Nose Lodge offers:  

  • Training Classes for All Ages and Levels
    • Puppy Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School, Canine Good Citizen, Rally, & more!
  • Private Training
    • Basic Obedience Training Dog Day School
    • Basic Obedience Training Dog Boarding School
    • Puppy Head Start
    • Puppy Potty Training Assistance Program (PPTAP)
    • Reactive Dog Private Training Lessons
    • Dog Training Refreshers

Happy Holidays everyone! Don’t forget to enter to win $100 to spend at Cold Nose Lodge here: