Although this Holiday season is turning out to be nothing like the ones in the past, there will still be additional stress put on our four legged friends. Maybe you are traveling out of town and boarding your dogs for the first time or you have family visiting and staying at your home, whatever your holiday plans are here are some tips for keeping this time of the year stress-free for your pooch.
Keep your Dog’s Schedule Consistent
Dogs crave consistency. Changes in their routine can be anxiety inducing, especially to those who are already timid, shy, or insecure in their nature. When possible, keep your dogs’ feeding, walks, and sleep routine as close to normal as you can.
Low-cost activities to do with your dog this holiday season
Walk down Peacock Lane
Take you pup with you through a drive-through light show, Winter Wonderland Portland, anyone?
Bring your pooch to a u-pick tree farm, Furrow Tree Farm and Plumper Farms are dog friendly and within 30 minutes of Portland.
Hikes are always available and just a short drive away, Forest Park and Tryon Creek are a couple of my winter favorites, make sure to wear waterproof shoes!
Prepare for Visitors
Due to this year's events, most dogs are even more ill equipped to handle visitors than usual. If your dog is outgoing make sure to practice polite door greetings with them to prevent overexcited greeting. Enlist your family or friends to knock on the door and be your ‘test dummy’ while you practice keeping your dog in a calm sit or while they stay on their bed. Practice, practice, practice! If you have a naturally shy or timid dog, make sure they have a safe place to be during festivities. Place a few extra comfy blankets in their crate in a quiet room. Fill a couple KONGs with peanut butter or yogurt and freeze them or buy a couple marrow bones ahead of time to give them an outlet for their nervous energy. This may be a good time to try some CBD products or Rescue Remedy to further help settle your nervous nelly.
Ground Rules for Visitors
If you have others staying in your home, ensure they know the ground rules with all your pets so they aren't suddenly getting loaded up with table scraps or being allowed to jump on the furniture. Make a short but to the point list and put it on the fridge
so everyone is reminded regularly of what you expect from your pets.
Be a good example for your dog
Dogs have a symbiotic relationship with their humans and they pick up on the emotions you are feeling, including frustration and stress (in-laws in town?). Set a good example for your dog by being mindful of your own emotions and practicing your own stress relieving activities, make sure to take time for yourself this season.
Whatever you end up doing during this strange holiday season, make sure to keep your furry friend's mental state in mind. This is a wonderful time to expose your puppy to grand new environments and stimuli, make sure to take advantage of everything this city has to offer this year!