Christmas is a weird time of year, isn’t it? For a lot of people, it involves spending time with the very people you have avoided for the rest of the year. It involves obligatory get-togethers with work colleagues, distant family members and long-lost friends. It can quickly become abundantly clear why you haven’t seen these people since last December.
Of course, there are fun times too! There’s the excitement of seeing the people you do like, enjoying great food and relaxing with those you’re closest too. Still, it can be exhausting and you have the benefit of knowing what’s going on, most of the time!
For your dog, this is an even weirder time of year. Their home has been covered in shiny stuff that they’re not allowed to play with. There’s a tree in the house that they’re not allowed to pee on. Quite often the furniture has been moved around. People are coming and going at all hours of the day and night. Children are reaching unparalleled levels of excitement. Their favourite humans are going from excited to stressed and back again in a nano-second and throughout all of this, they’re expected to stay chilled out and on their best behaviour.
I don’t know anyone, myself included, who can maintain ‘best behaviour’ throughout the festive period. Even if it’s just gesticulating at someone who has ‘stolen’ the car parking space you were aiming for or swearing because it’s impossible to wrap a present without copious amounts of dog hair being included with the sellotape. This time of year, tests the patience of the most laid-back human.
So, give your dog a break! Literally and metaphorically. Try and stick to the same routine that they’re used to with food and walks. Make sure their bed hasn’t been moved and that they have a place of safety to retreat to. If they want to take themselves off to a quiet room for some time out, let them. If your dog isn’t used to lots of people being in their home, make sure that they are not overwhelmed. Children need to be monitored, actually, scrap that. All humans need to be monitored! The dog’s bed is a ‘no go area’ and their space needs to be respected.
Dogs are incredibly sensitive to shifts in energy and noise, both of which are in abundance of the holidays. Please take a moment to think about your plans over the next couple of weeks. How can you make it easy for your dog, not put them under pressure and ensure that they’re safe at all times?
Your dog will thank you for preparing and thinking this through now!