The final weeks of the year are incredibly busy for many families, with festivities ranging from a family
Thanksgiving dinner to New Year’s parties. These changes to your family routine can be a huge challenge
for your dog, especially if they are quite young and still being trained. New visitors in your home, crowds
out and about, and visiting new homes can be overwhelming to your pup if they are not prepared. Get
started now to help your puppy enjoy the holidays along with you, instead of descending into stress and
Plan for Your Pup’s Comfort
Your dog’s personality is an extremely important consideration when making holiday plans. If your dog is
well trained, outgoing, and loves new experiences, they absolutely thrive in the busyness of the
holidays. Some dogs are excellent house guests and will be welcome at your family’s parties, playing
gently with kids and behaving appropriately with adults. However, even a well-trained and patient dog
will eventually struggle with the lack of routine and personal space.
If you want to set your dog up for success, take their personality into account when making your plans.
Don’t force your dog to simply deal with the busyness because it might be difficult and stressful. Instead, allow your dog to enjoy the holidays in the way that suits them best. Would they prefer to be in the backyard during a family gathering, mostly on their own except for the occasional trip indoors to see the group? Would they feel most confident at home in their crate while you go to a family or friend’s dinner, or would they enjoy a large group of new faces? If you do take your dog to a new environment, is there a place where they can retreat to get space from overly attentive people? These considerations can help you arrange your plans so that your dog can enjoy the holidays as much as you do!
For your dog, the routine of the day is how they know what to expect. Keeping with the established
routines for their meals, exercise, and potty breaks is a major key to success. If you are visiting another
location, plan ahead with the homeowner so your dog’s needs aren’t forgotten or left until the last
If you are hosting a large group and have decided to contain your dog with gates or an exercise pen,
prepare them by introducing those items at least several days before the event. Give them time to get
used to the restrictions, and focus on teaching them that being in their spaces is a positive thing rather
than constantly scolding them when they approach a gate.
Exercise will make a huge difference in your pup’s temperament during the holidays! Take them out for
a run before guests arrive to burn off as much energy as possible and take them out for a run again before meals. In many ways, a tired pup is a good pup, as they are much less likely to act out when they
are comfortably tired.
Considering your dog’s needs is the key to success during the holidays. The holidays are meant to be
enjoyed! Planning and preparing properly will remove unneeded stress and make your events a joy
instead of a hectic mess. Keep your dog’s needs and personality in mind when planning your visits, and
you will have a happier dog (and family) to show for it!