Thanksgiving is coming up quick and it is not too late to ensure that your pup and your family have a wonderful meal in peace.
Welcome to Dog Works Radio. Thanksgiving is coming up quick and it is not too late to ensure that your pup and your family have a wonderful meal in peace.
Consider Thanksgiving from your dog’s point of view: There’s a never-ending buffet of human food and plenty of humans in need of some emotional support — at the very least, the opportunity to pet a dog. The holiday should be a their favorite!
Unfortunately, as many dog owners know, all that food and all those humans can often spell disaster for your dog. The goal is to set your pup up for success by making it easy for them to do the right thing and not get into trouble. So…on today’s show we are going to give you 5 tips for keeping your dog out of trouble on Thanksgiving.
We want to give thanks to our friends from the American Kennel Club and the Dog Writers Association of America for helping us out on this episode.
After the episode, ask yourself, what new ideas has this conversation sparked for you? Then, share this episode with a family member or friends and discuss it together. As always, ping me over on Instagram at firstpawmedia. Just remember, dog training is a big commitment, and accountability is a huge part. You can do it; I believe in you!
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Picture this… The doorbell rings and you and your dog rush to the door to greet your visitors and Max jumps on grandma and she drops her world-famous pecan pie. Oh, the horror! Maybe you should consider Thanksgiving from your dog’s point of view: There’s a never-ending buffet of human food and plenty of humans in need of some emotional support — at the very least, the opportunity to pet a dog. The holiday should be their favorite! Unfortunately, as many pet parents know, all that food and all those humans can often spell disaster for your dog. The goal is to set your pup up for success by making it easy for them to do the right thing and not get into trouble. There are so many temptations on this day of feasting, but with a little advance planning, you can avoid the common horror of having your dog partake in the wrong part of the festivities. Today we are giving you five tips to keep your dog out of trouble on Thanksgiving.
Other than keeping your dog completely isolated from family and food throughout the preparation and the feast, there’s no foolproof way to prevent them from stealing a turkey leg from the counter or begging your guests for it. It can take months (sometimes years) to train a dog to exhibit exemplary behavior in a crowded environment rife with distractions and delicious smells. My advice here is not about training, but rather, setting your dog up for success even if you haven’t spent their whole life preparing for this moment. To be honest, Thanksgiving is such a random day that you are probably better off devoting your training to teaching your dog how to handle day-to-day events and just managing the challenges of this once-a-year holiday. Here’s some advice on Thanksgiving with dogs.
Get Some Exercise
Help your dog achieve the right emotional state by giving them lots of exercise in the morning, before your guests arrive. It’s hard to find the time for a long walk, hike, or run, but you will reap the benefits all day if your pup achieves the relaxed, contented state that exercise brings. Some training for the sake of mental exercise can also help them be their best selves the rest of the day. Boredom is the enemy of the well-behaved dog, so make your dog’s day as interesting as possible.
Set up a barrier to prevent your dog from being in the kitchen while you cook and in the dining room when you are feasting. Simply preventing trouble can feel like a cop out, but it’s a good solution if your dog can tolerate the separation. If your dog is comfortable in a crate or another room, take advantage. For many dogs, being separated is a reasonable way to stop them from begging, jumping up for food or stealing it from the serving area.
Stockpile some new toys and treats ready for use as you prepare and celebrate your Thanksgiving meal. If you can keep your dog interested in anything other than the delicious smells coming from the oven (and the garbage can!), you are setting them up for success. Stuff some Kongs or other food extraction toys ahead of time that you can give your dog to keep them occupied. Consider freezing a couple Kongs so that they will last even longer. Plan to give them at least one toy stuffed with goodies while you cook and another while you eat. If they have had something really appetizing to chew on or lick, it makes it easier for them to deal with not receiving the human food. That applies to dogs who are in a crate in another room, or with everyone.
Clean Up After
Wrap the leftovers up and put them in the fridge or freezer as fast as possible after you are done eating. With possible temptations secured and out of reach, the risk of trouble is largely behind you. Don’t forget to put the garbage out, too. A Thanksgiving trash party for your pup will rob you of some of those feelings of gratitude the day inspires, and even worse, it may be harmful to your dog’s health.
Take a walk after the big meal (this is good for humans and dogs regardless.) The exercise is wonderful, especially after a large meal, and the chance to be outside makes most pups content. After any potential holiday stresses caused by visitors or the unusual nature of the day, a walk will be most welcome. If your dog is not used to a walk at that time, it’s a special treat. If they’re used to going out at that time, sticking to this part of her routine is a relief. Plus, it’s time to reflect on how grateful you are for each other.
Even if your Thanksgiving is a disaster…and let’s be honest it won’t be… because even grandma can bake another pecan pie, it is not too early to get a jump start on training your dog for all the Christmas festivities. Give us a call at Alaska Dog Works or find a trainer in your area for help.
Before we end the show, let’s press pause for a sec…maybe ask yourself, why did this resonate with me? What aspect of my relationship with my K9 buddy could I apply this to? And what am I going to do differently this week to make my dog’s training a little easier? So, take time to mull it over, talk it out with a family member or trusted friend, put some ideas down in your training journal, and then check back next week for our next episode.
And, as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this episode. So, reach out and D.M. me over on Instagram at firstpawmedia, and let’s spark a conversation. Until then, keep going! You are doing great! It is time to create the relationship with your dog that you always dreamed of.
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