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Tails from a Dog Trainer – It’s that time again…

15 Nov, 2018

As the nights draw in, the Christmas adverts start appearing and before you know it it’s December and the countdown to Christmas begins.

A dog’s first Christmas is a wonderful memory, is there anything cuter than a tiny nose sniffing a bauble and being awestruck at twinkling lights?

Here are my top tips for ensuring it’s a Happy Christmas for the puppy or dog in your life:

  • Take the extra time you have to make Festive dog walks amazing – try new locations, meet up with other dog owners and have a group walk or take the children with you and play some recall relay games!
  • Ensure you dog has somewhere to settle where he will not be disturbed when you have festive visitors. Having a lot of unfamiliar people around can be overwhelming; giving him a place that is quiet where he can rest will help to ensure he is calmer. Puppies should be encourages to rest, as they will find it less easy to come away from where the excitement is!
  • Keep the mince pies and other non-dog friendly treats out of reach. The Kennel Club website has a list of foodstuffs which should be avoided.
  • Puppies will want to investigate new items – the tree, the Christmas light cables (eek), musical and garden decorations. Remember to let them investigate at their own pace and never force them toward an item they are nervous of. Calm reassurance from you will help to build their confidence. P.S – Barking at garden reindeer’s can be commonplace – who is this sparkly intruder on next-door’s lawn? Why does he not respond to my play bow? Probably best to give them a wide berth when passing!
  • Some dogs are happy to wear festive jumpers but others are not. Be mindful of your dog’s reaction to festive outfits. If they show signs of stress, lip licking, turning away, backing up or yawning, it may be best to leave the cute costume. There are lots of great photo apps that will allow you to digitally alter photos to make them more festive – that way everyone’s happy!

Wishing you, your family and your dog(s) a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Louise Burton IMDT
Hilton Dogs

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