Preparing For Thanksgiving With a Dog

By Courtney Alexander

brown dog wearing a yellow harness on a trail in the woods for holiday hike

This time of year always seems to be a bit busy and stressful for all of us. So, we thought we would take a quick moment to check in and offer some support courtesy of our friends at Pawsitive Futures Dog Training. As we approach Thanksgiving we want to start to make a plan for our dogs, just as detailed as those old family recipes we are preparing shopping lists for! So, what does that mean? Here are a few tips!

Exercise Early 

Just because it is a day off of work, doesn’t mean our dog’s energy is taking a break. Your dog will still have some exercise needs and it is best to get those taken care of earlier in the day to help increase the likelihood that they will be able to relax later on. Try taking a long line hike in the woods or an early morning stroll through a new park to kick off your Thanksgiving day. Opportunities to sniff, explore, work their brain, and move their body will help burn that extra energy off in a positive way before your day begins and decrease the likelihood of naughty behaviors later on!
 

Prepare Thanksgiving Puzzles and Enrichment

Plan on decreasing the amount of food given in a bowl, especially if you plan on keeping your dog out with you and your family and friends! We want some extra calories to be able to dispense in the form of a treat dropped for calm behavior or a polite greeting, a bully stick for some calm chewing, and even a frozen Kong to help keep your pup busy during dinner. And, since your day will be busy, get those ready now so you can make sure you have them when needed.
 

Increase Management

Remember that all of this extra excitement means even more temptations for your dog! Yummy smells on the counter might tempt your pup to jump up, which could be very dangerous if they grab something toxic. And the excitement of all of the guests may tempt your pup to jump up to say hello. Management like crates, x-pens, and leash tethers can help keep your dog safe by preventing the unwanted behaviors (counter surfing, stealing trash, jumping on people, chewing on shoes) from stealing the show over Thanksgiving dinner.
 

Dogs and Alcohol, and Dogs and Kids Don’t Mesh Well

Even if you live with kids, other children in the home can result in some trouble. There are certain ways that kids should and should not interact with pets, and with all of the added stress of holiday bustle sometimes we do not have time to supervise 100%. Oftentimes, even for adults, as alcohol can enter their system we can see more inappropriate interactions take place. This is both unfair and stressful for our dogs, as well as dangerous. We want to make sure we do not put our dogs in a place where they have to communicate STOP with their teeth. Think and plan ahead, and if needed, plan for your dog to enjoy the day with frozen puzzles out of sight in the bedroom for a few hours.
 

Think About The Unexpected 

There will always be moments that we cannot plan for. But with some creative thinking, we can brainstorm on those potential situations and come up with a game plan to prepare ahead or have the safety net in place. For example, a collar with ID tags can help you reunite with your dog if they slip out a door and working on attention and recall each day until the holiday can help prepare your pup for the moment then the door stays open a bit too long and prevents you from losing them. Think about what your day might look like and some of the ways you can prevent these negative things from happening or even set up your environment to help your pup be successful.

Do you have your plan for the upcoming holidays?

It’s okay if you don’t there is still time to prepare for how your furry pal will be included in a safe and fun way. Study up on our tips above and think about ways you can utilize them for your holiday plans. And don’t forget to shop for the perfect gifts for all your friends and family’s pups at 2 Hounds Designs!

*This blog was reposted from our friends at Pawsitive Futures Dog Trainings.

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