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Helpful Holiday Prep Tips For Your Pup!

November 11, 20235 min read

Is this the first holiday season with your pup?
Not sure how to plan or what you need to plan to have a successful holiday season with your pup? 
Don’t despair! I’m here to help!
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I’ll cover common challenges puppy families face over the holidays and strategies to help you overcome those challenges!

House Training:

Whether you are bringing your pup with you or you are hosting in your own home, your pup will need to go potty as they do any other day of the week.

1. Set alarms

2. Set a schedule

3. Provide an indoor potty spot

4. Give yourself and your pup some grace

Set alarms every day to remind you when your pup needs a potty break whether that is outside or to an appropriate inside spot like to the pee pads. If you have multiple family members who can help take care of your pup then sit down and set a schedule of who is responsible for the pup at specific hours or times of the day. For example if you know you are in charge of greeting guests as they come in, can someone else be on puppy duty during the that time. Rotate and swap puppy duty role as often as needed.

If your pup is pee pad trained then keeping an indoor potty spot available to them during the festivities can help you maintain your house training success while also providing some flexibility while all the activities are happening. An indoor potty spot can also help your pup feel more comfortable in a new or less familiar environment if they are used to pee pads.

With young pups accidents are par for the course so give yourself and your pup some grace. A lot of new smells, sights, and sounds will be happening over the holiday season and that can be both very exciting and worrisome for puppies. Know that both you and your pup are doing your best and you can get back to your normal routine after the holidays. In the meantime, enjoy the season with your pup!

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Travel:

Traveling can be stressful for you as well as your pup. It can be hard to remember what to bring not only for yourself but also gifts for friends, family members and then what your pup needs!

Here is a helpful list of some tried and true items so you don’t have to make the list yourself. Feel free to add your own personal items to the list as each dog and family have individual needs as well.

List of Travel Items:

1. Crate or mat - something familiar to your pup that they can use as a safe space to relax.

2. Chews and food puzzle toys - non-edible or edible chews and food puzzle toys you can give your pup as an activity.

3. Equipment - collar with ID tags, harness, leash, and any of their other regular outside and safety gear.

4. Treats - food treats you know your pup enjoys so you can pair their new experiences with food, something positive.

5. First Aid Kit - a pet first aid kit just in case!

Guests & Parties:

Whether you are hosting in your own home or staying with the host of the holiday season, parties and large crowds can be very exciting and also a little stressful for pups.

Here are some tips to help your pup out once the festivities begin:

1. Create a quiet space

2. Food puzzle toys

3. Breaks

4. Avoid all together

Even for very social pups, parties and large crowds can be exhausting after awhile. Think of a toddler at a birthday party. It's important to give your pup multiple breaks from the festivities so that they can nap and recharge. For those breaks to be successful, it's essential that you create a safe quiet space where your pup can nap without being in the middle of the party or at risk of being disturbed by guests.

A safe quiet space could be a crate in a separate room with a baby and a closed door. For older pups and dogs, a safe quiet space could be a blocked off room with their bed or a mat they like to sleep on.

If you know or think your pup has confine anxiety or isolation distress then please consult a R+ certified trainer or behavior consultant to help you make a plan.

If your pup is not likely to take a nap, then you can still help them take a break in their safe space with food puzzle toys so they have something fun to work on! Allowing them space to move and chase something without having to navigate a crowd of people can still bring some relief.

If you have a pup or older dog that is brand new to you or a pup who is worried about new people or lots of activity then you can choose to have your pup avoid it all together. If you have made plans for your pup to stay somewhere else or with someone else then that's great! You are taking care of your dog's needs.

In my area pet sitters, daycares, and doggy camps tend to book out early and quickly for the holiday season. If you think you may make alternative plans for your pup next year then I plan booking accommodations at least 5 months in advance and also have a backup plan in case your original plans fall through for some reason.

Bonus Tips:

1. Research and take down the local emergency vets if you are traveling somewhere with your pup in case of emergencies.

2. If you have someone taking care of your pup, give them another emergency contact in case they cannot reach you. Try to pick a friend or family member who will be local.

3. Bring an extra day or two of your pup's food if you are traveling with them in case you need to spend an extra day or two.

4. HAVE FUN WITH YOUR PUP!

HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON TO YOU AND YOUR PUP!

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Julie Wintrob, she/her

A Brooklyn based positive reinforcement trainer. AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator Fear Free Certified Professional Family Dog Mediator CPDT-KA

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