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Holiday Tips for Dogs

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

The holiday season is a wonderful time of visiting family and friends, but it can be extra stressful for dogs– especially dogs who are naturally more fearful or anxious. As a dog owner, we must be considerate of our pets during the holidays and having a plan in place ahead of time can help ease some of the stress on both you and your dog.  As guests in other’s homes, we must also be considerate of their rules and space. 

Give Them Some Space

Just like people, dogs aren’t always going to feel social, and they may not like every person (I mean, you don’t like everyone… do you?). Giving them a space away from the chaos can help them feel calm and safe. This can be either a quiet room or a crate where they are able to relax. Most dogs (especially those who are fearful, don’t like new things, or don’t handle chaos very well) will appreciate the separation you give them– don’t worry, they won’t be missing out! Allowing them to rest in their crate or room will also remove stress from your busy day. Knowing that they are nice and cozy in their space means that you don’t have to worry about them jumping on guests, running out the front door as people enter your home, or stealing Christmas cookies off the table. If you have a dog who loves being around people and is well-mannered, remember that even they can get overwhelmed and give them intentional rest times if needed.

Have Clear and Appropriate Boundaries

If you have a pup who is social and well-behaved around guests, allow them to enjoy it! But consider having clear communication and setting appropriate boundaries with both the dog and guests (sometimes guests are the instigators!). Let your guests know what the house rules are if needed. If you don’t want your dog jumping on people, communicate that to guests so they aren’t encouraging or inviting them to jump. If you don’t want anyone to feed your dog “human food” from the table, then make this clear (and also consider having them in their crate during meals so they aren’t accidentally exposed to unsafe foods). Clear communication is kind! If you communicate to guests and also to your dog they will be able to create a fun and safe environment for everyone. If guests are unable or unwilling to follow the rules it is okay to set boundaries and even remove the dog from the party if needed.

Be a Good Guest

Speaking of “naughty” guests, don’t let that be you! When you visit a friend or family who has a dog, be respectful of the dog, their space, and the rules in place within the home. Even if you don’t understand why they have the boundaries or structure in place, understand that there is always a reason and it is meant to keep all the dogs and humans safe! Take the time to learn how to communicate with and socialize with dogs in a way that is beneficial to them. When entering a home with a dog(s), you do not have to say “hi” to the dog right away. Enter the home and focus on the humans, allow the dog space and time to get used to your presence. You do not need to get loud or  excited, get down on the ground, get in their face, touch them, or even put your hand out for them to smell (dogs actually have insane smelling abilities and can smell you just fine). Doing these things is very invasive and rude in “dog language”. Instead, focus on enjoying the human company for a while and allow the dog to approach you if and when they are ready. Allowing the dog to approach you if they would like to creates safety, confidence, and trust. 

My name is Zoe’, I am the owner, founder, and head trainer at Central Kansas Canine. I have many years of experience in training, working with many types of dogs and owners. I opened CKK9 in October 2023, with the goal of bringing a balanced training approach to dog owners in Wichita that is sustainable and practical for everyday life and individual needs. 

~holistic, integrated, sustainable, lifestyle dog training~ 

(aka balance)

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