As you are getting ready for the holidays, it is important that you keep in mind your pet. The Winter holidays can be exciting for everyone, including your dog or puppy. Your pup will be intrigued by the bright, sparkly lights, fun-looking ornaments, shimmery tinsel, and colorful garland. As beautiful as these things are, they can be potentially harmful to your pet.
Pet MD has some great Dog Christmas Tree Safety Tips that we want to highlight in this holiday blog that will help you be prepared this holiday season to keep your furry family member safe and on Santa’s nice list!
Utilize Dog Training Commands
When training your dog to leave the Christmas tree alone use dog training commands that we use with our clients at Bark Avenue Daycamp. Dog training trigger words that can be used effectively if your dog is trained are “Leave it” and “Away”. These dog training commands help to get their attention. And then make sure you follow up by giving them positive reinforcement for them giving you their attention.
You want the holidays and holiday decorations to be associated with things that are positive, so you want to ensure to keep an eye on your dogs and puppies as you are putting up your holiday decorations to “catch” them as they are walking up to the decoration so you can use the trigger word right away, and then again follow up with that positive reinforcement. You can give them a treat as they redirect their attention to you. Do this several times and over several days to reinforce this behavioral dog training. And you can then reduce the number of treats you are giving them, and move toward more verbal praise, pats, and playtime. This can be used to deter your dog from anything that you want to keep them away from.
Deterrents Can Be Used as Part of Holiday Dog Training
Deterrents in various forms are a great way to discourage dogs from chewing or nibbling and can aid in dog training, especially during the holidays. Most of them are natural, and humans typically cannot smell them, but what is good is that to your dog or puppy the smell and taste are not pleasant. Most deterrents tend to be very bitter tasting, so even if your dog or puppy does try to make that first chew, they will usually not go back a second time!
There are some great products out there that we recommend to our Bark Avenue clients, including Bitter Apple Spray, Bitter Yuck, No Chew, and Stop the Chew.
Create a Barrier Around the Christmas Tree or Decorated Area
People have used baby gates or other fence-like barriers to prevent curious noses from going through the presents and getting to the tree itself. You can also have a barrier of empty boxes that are wrapped so that it is a barrier but still adds to the decorations. With this tactic, you are lining the barrier of your tree to prevent them from getting near the real presents which could have interesting smells depending on the contents.
Another idea for a barrier is to have a tin foil tree skirt. Typically dogs do not like the feel and noise of the foil when they step on it. This can be very effective, but may not be the prettiest.
Make Sure Your Decorations Are Dog Friendly
With real trees, you will have pine needles on the floor at some point. This can be various dangerous to your dog or puppy if they ingest the needles, potentially causing blockage and other issues. So you may want to consider having an artificial tree. Real trees have a lot of enticing smells, so having an artificial tree can also cut down on your dog’s interest in the tree.
Also, always make sure your tree is stabilized so that if your dog goes near it or jumps on it, the tree does not fall or tip over to ensure everyone’s safety including your pup.
Remember also to use dog-friendly decorations. AKC states that dogs’ noses are at least 100,000 times more sensitive than ours. Keep the following in mind when choosing decorations for your tree to help keep your dog or puppy safe:
- Use plastic rather than glass ornaments
- Use plastic hooks rather than the metal hooks
- It is pretty, but avoid tinsel!
- Avoid salt dough ornaments
- Avoid real food items like candy canes, popcorn, etc.
At Bark Avenue Daycamp, we want your dog or puppy to be safe during the holidays! If you live in Bartlett, Hoffman Estates, St. Charles, Elgin, or Schaumburg and are looking for dog care near me or dog trainers near me, call us at (630) 289-8470 or contact us online to book your dog or puppy for dog training with us at Bark Avenue Daycamp.