The holidays are upon us. And if you are welcoming visitors into your home, here are some suggestions on making sure that your dog doesn’t end up on the naughty list.
When the doorbell rings, Buddy may get be thrilled to see Aunt Rose. But she may not want to be greeted by a jumping, slobbering, St. Bernard or a Yorkie tearing her stockings. I remember that when our Aunt Rose arrived, our lab ducked between her legs and lifted her, shrieking, off the ground.
Keep a small bag of treats near the door way. When a visitor arrives, tell Buddy to sit and give him a treat. Or toss the treat and tell Buddy to find it. Reward a quiet dog with praise and a treat. If he jumps or barks ignore him. Any reaction is an encouragement.
Time to serve drinks or eat dinner?
Crate time is an easy answer. But if Buddy howls at the idea and doesn’t quit, how about giving him a kong? A kong can be used as a treat or for an entire meal. To make it last longer and more challenging, mix kibble with a small amount of wet dog food, peanut butter, broth, or water and put it in the freezer. Frozen kongs will take longer to eat and requires some energy to work out the food.
Or make busy buckets by filling a small pail with things like a ball, Nylabone, water bottle or PVC pipe loaded with treats.
Pack item very tightly into the bucket so that Buddy has to work (and take time) removing them.
You could do the same with busy boxes. Get three boxes in varying sizes, such as an empty cereal box, an empty cake mix box, and an empty Jell-O box. Put treats inside each box. Then but each smaller box into a larger box, adding more treats and, maybe, a chew. Buddy will have to unpack everything – s-l-o-w-l-y – so he doesn’t miss anything.
Or make a brain teaser toy by filling a muffin tin with tennis balls and placing treats under random balls. More busy time (and fun) for Buddy.
Of course you will have to pick up balls and boxes at some time, but it’s worth it. A busy dog is a happy dog. And it’s a small price to pay to keep Buddy, Aunt Rose and everyone else in the holiday spirit– or, at least, on good terms.