5 Holiday Dog Training Tips

It’s been a busy week of dog training and puppy consultations. In the few remaining days before Christmas, dogs and people are getting a little crazy. I just got off the phone with a client whose adolescent Labrador Retriever had knocked over the Christmas tree. She needed an emergency dog training phone consultation ASAP!

For the puppy parents, we practiced a few grounding techniques: deep, calming breaths. For her over-excited Lab, I recommended a few dog training basics including sit and stationing. The kids willingly added trick, treat and play training to help calm and distract their wayward friend.

Here is Lily play-training her Westie how to go down by playing the tunnel game with a treat cup.

Here are 5 quick tips to get you and your dog through the holidays.

1. A tired pup makes for a happy family. Play interactive games. Toss one toy after another to your dog to keep her busy, busy, busy.

2. Create familiar, comfortable stations in every room, especially the ones where you entertain or have lots of new decorations. Put a familiar bed or blanket in a corner. Add a few favorite toys or dog treats and encourage your dog to stay there.

3. Handle your dog during transitions. When people come and go, leash your dog. Make sure you have a toy on hand to distract him and displace excitement.

4. Get family and friends on board with your training commands. Make up a cheat sheet of the most important obedience basics (sit, wait, down, stay and away) and encourage everyone to use them.

5. Give a time-out. If behavior is getting out of hand, leash or isolate your dog to restore calm. Crazy dog behavior is a sign of distress, not joy. He’ll appreciate a breather.

Finally, go shopping. Buy a special holiday gift for your dog… a long-lasting, tasty dog chew will provide a satisfying, non-chemical high for those times when his daily routine is turned upside-down.