By Celebrity Dog Trainer, Joel Silverman
During this holiday season, a number of us might choose to stay home, have holiday parties, and entertain guests. I wanted to give you a few things to remember during this time of year when people are coming and going in and out of your house.
We all have our own “rules” for our dogs when guests come over to the house, and I am no different. I know that I can get busy and talkative when my friends come over, and I never want to be in a situation where people are going in and out the door, my dogs are loose in the house, and I am not aware. Even the most well trained dog can slip out a door that is opened for 20 or 30 seconds. So for this reason, I almost always keep my dogs in another room. If I am in a situation where a few people are left in the house and I know doors are not opening and closing, I might let them roam around. But it is always better to be on the cautious side.
Remember too, that dogs can get sick from some of the snacks and sweets that we so often see at some parties. Chocolate is a great example, but you want to watch fruit salads as well. Grapes are extremely dangerous to dogs as well. A great suggestion is to remind your guests not to feed your dog human food that has been placed out. Don’t forget that a little amount of food coming from dozens of people can make your dog very sick.
There are a lot of things you can do to keep your home safe too, and it all starts with the Christmas tree, and that area. Start off by making sure you unplug all lights and cords when you leave. Electrical cords can be very enticing to chew on for dogs with high prey drive, or dogs that like to chew on things. If your Christmas tree is in water, and you put something in the water to help extend the life of the tree, look at the ingredients. If it says dogs or humans should not consume the product, take that to heart, and make sure your dog does not have the opportunity to drink it. If you put out garland, nativity features, or lights, keep them in a place high enough where your dog is less likely to want to play with them.
Remember that our dogs look to us for leadership and the right decisions. If you take just a small amount of time to think about these very important things, you are bound to keep your pet happy and healthy this holiday season. Happy holidays, and a healthy New Year to all!
Joel Silverman has trained animals for Hollywood films, TV, amusement parks, and he now devotes his forty years of professional experience to helping thousands of pet owners train their dogs. Joel has worked behind the scenes on lots of shows and films, but he’s best known for Good Dog U—his top-rated Animal Planet series that ran from 1999 to 2009. Joel has also authored three books to share his expertise: What Color Is Your Dog?®, Take 2 – Training Solutions for Rescued Dogs, and Bond With Your Heart; Train With Your Brain®.