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5 Steps To Have The BEST Holiday Season With Your Pup

“It’s the most stressful time of the year
With the dog’s collars jingle belling
And everyone telling you to be of good cheer
It’s the most stressful time of the year…”

Pet owners, we get it. Heck, even here, at White Mountain College For Pets, we’re not immune from the hustle and grind of the holiday season. And, the thing is, our furry-four legged family members can feel it too.

New, unfamiliar, and loud people visiting our homes, the temptation of all the holiday food/treats at your pup’s eye-level, and more often than we’d like to admit, disrupting everyone’s schedule.

It’s the perfect storm for a hot-mess express when it comes to your dog.

But, the good news?

Just a few steps that you can do, like, right now, can help you have the best holiday ever with your dog. And no pulling tinsel out of their butt required. Because been there – done that. We got your back dog peeps.

Step One: Exercise + Enrichment + Our Four Favorite Brainy Toys

Cabin fever is for real, in dogs. But, we also understand you have million-holiday errands and a task-list that rivals St. Nick. But trust us, you don’t want your pup releasing his built-up energy in the house on grandma, during dinner, or zooming around the Christmas tree. Schedule and get outside with him a minimum of 30 minutes, 2x a day. When Fido is alone, challenge his mind with an enrichment toy or switch up the way you feed him.

Here are our four favorite brainy toys:

Step Two: Basic Manners 101

The weeks and days leading up to the holiday weeks are a perfect time to brush up on your basic manners. At a minimum, a sit, stay, and a down stay will keep your dog (and guests!) happy and, most importantly, safe.

Step Three: Know Your Dog’s Limit

Don’t set your dog up for failure. Simple. If you know that he gets jumpy and bouncy around new people, manage it vs. punish it. If he’s a master beggar for food (looking at you labs!), a perfect activity might be his zen den, aka crate with a Kong.

Step Four: TRAIN Your Human Guests

Your house, your rules. Be clear on how to interact with your dog, what rules to follow when coming in the house, set expectations. And, if you want to make it a double whammy and your dog can handle it, gamify it for the kiddos with training games. Everyone gets a cookie, and you’ll be the hero.

Step Five: Self Care + Mindfulness For YOU and Your Dog

Take a breather when things feel out of control. Check-in with yourself, and remember, it’s okay to say no during this time of year. Boundaries are not only good for our pups, but they’re just what many of us need. And remember, step one? Go outside with your dog and focus on the connection. You’ll both be thankful later.

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