One emotion that continues to be strong in 2020 is this overwhelming desire to have a pet. Many owners so happy and cannot explain why they put off this decision for such a long time.
Many of you are about to have your first Christmas with your pup and with parties back on the menu.
Can I share some thoughts?
Challenging Behaviour, Illness, and Leaving our pups/dogs whilst we are away are big stresses. With Christmas and holidays fast approaching all 3 factors can come into play.
I will start with leaving your dog in someone else’s care
In an ideal world, having someone come into your home to look after your pup/dog is always the best solution. This involves the least change and your dog’s behaviour stays the same or if you have a keen sitter it may even improve.
The second best would be staying at the home of one of your dog’s best friends. That way your dog has some constants and their positive safe relationship will reduce the stress of novel situations that come along.
The third is a kennel. Kennels are wonderful places if run well. Mosh pit play times with one member of staff videoing and another wrangling 10-15 dogs is not safe or going to help your dog’s long term behaviour around other dogs. Look for a kennel that talks about staff ratio. I would rather a dog had one on one time with a human than only be let out of their kennel into a mosh pit of over-excited dogs who are all competing for space attention and balls.
However good the marketing video is. Ideally, go and visit the kennel, do not trust the word of mouth or your vets if they themselves have not visited the site. How many of you would send your child to school / day-care without a physical tour?
My favourites are Kip Kennels, Pet Ranch, Calabash kennels. However, I have not been to these kennels for 2 years and things may have changed.
The Christmas trees. Please protect your tree and your pup/dog by using a pen or place your tree up high on a coffee table. Light wiring is very attractive, as is the tree water bucket, the sparkly ball-shaped glass baubles and then the tree itself, looks good enough to nibble.
And then there is the yummy, delicious food
Cooked hams, cheeses, chocolates, and stones fruits These all sound delicious already to us and our pups. This is where the danger lies, Stoned fruits, Avocados, Corn Cobs, cooked bones will all cause obstructions and possible piercing of the gut. So, a definite NO. Cheese just bad for the hips and tummy. Chocolate, a massive stimulant and can cause cardiac arrest so a NO NO
Heat is another Biggy around festivities, placing the pup in the garden if you have a big group of people over may sound a good idea but please ensure your pup has shade, water, chew toys and are looked after and engaged with regularly, please. Check out this blog on how to keep your pup cool
Having friends over can be challenging since not all people are as keen as ourselves around having a pup/ dog in their space or near their Christmas outfit. Now I will stop right there and say. Front gate, front door …. So many guests are terrible at closing them, check this, please.
Okay, so please think through managing your pup around all these people. For the exuberant dogs, this would be a great time to perfect that jump or crotch sniffing. So please it could be as simple as putting their lead on as guests arrive, for others it may be a baby gate. But please think about this beforehand and rehearse it
Now not all our pups love unfamiliar people. So, if you have a pup who is not a fan of head pats or being picked up. Having 20+ people over 3-4 days doing this is the quickest way to drive up aggression. So please have a household meeting, set some parameters around this, and even add this on your invitation “ just a friendly reminder Fido does not like being patted on his head so please remind the family To avoid any upset or incident. Thanks”
Please don’t feed your pup with unfamiliar people and kids milling around. Take them somewhere quiet and stay with them.
Now I hope you feel you have everything covered to allow you to relax and enjoy your friends , family, and fabulous Fido ….
May we raise a glass and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy 2021
Louise and the Team at Let’s Fido