How To Help Your Dog Avoid The Temptation of Holiday Aftermath

Once Christmas has come and gone, even if you boarded your dog through the stressful holiday week, the aftermath of the season can wreak havoc on your dog’s senses. Even the most well-trained of canines can falter when it comes to the temptations of shiny Christmas decorations, the kids’ noise-making new toys, and the ever-so-tempting crunchiness of wrapping paper strewn about the house. In conjunction with an altered schedule, your dog can revert to unwanted behaviors due to stress and curiosity. Keeping firm on your rules and taking time out for a simple game of fetch or a walk around the neighborhood will do wonders for your dog’s psyche.

Christmas_dogWhile it may be cute to watch your dog scurry through wads of wrapping paper, and although it may make an endearing home movie, letting your dog investigate the new items in his surroundings teaches him bad behaviors. He or she will not be able to differentiate between Christmas leftovers and the newspapers on the table a week later. If you do not deter your dog from rummaging through the holiday goodies, he will soon be rummaging through other things in the household that spark his interest.

With children’s toys that are shiny and make noise, your dog may get confused, especially if some of his own toys mimic those of their new Christmas presents. Firmly telling your dog ‘No!’ and diverting his attention to his own toys will show him that the rules have not changed, and that he is only allowed to play with things that belong to him. Showing your dog that the new toys do not belong to him as soon as he displays interest will teach him that those new toys are off limits.

The same idea of diverting his attention applies to holiday decorations. They may smell and look interesting, and your dog will be very curious about these new things in his environment. However, foregoing your dog’s rules and training for the sake of taking a photo for next year’s Christmas card may cause you to have to retrain your dog on proper behaviors into next year!

Although the holidays are busy and it may seem easier to skip over your dog’s daily walk, he doesn’t understand the concept of the holiday season and his restlessness and confusion may cause him to display some bad behaviors. Signs of dog stress include chewing, pacing, whining, excess barking, urinating in the house, upset stomach and not eating as much as he or she normally does. To lessen your dog’s anxiety during the winding down period of the holiday season, taking a break to show him or her that life is still normal will be very beneficial. Making sure your dog is fed at his normal times, taken outside regularly, and given enough exercise will help take the edge off and show your dog that things aren’t entirely upside down, the rules still apply, and he is still a well-loved and cared for member of the family.


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