During the holiday season, there is often an increase in the amount of puppies brought into homes. The holidays can be a stressful and busy time for everyone, but you still need to take time to focus on the newest member of your family! If you do bring a puppy home this season, it’s essential that you are prepared in order to begin shaping your puppy into the dog you want them to be. Below is a list of puppy dos and don’ts specifically for the holiday season.
DO puppy proof your holiday decorations. With a new puppy comes experiencing everything for the first time. This means a first introduction to Christmas trees, wrapping paper, tinsel and other holiday decor. If your dog is loose in the house and near the holiday decorations, make sure they are well supervised. Puppies can be extremely curious, so keep a watchful eye on your dog and never let them explore the holiday decorations alone.
DO be cautious when walking your puppy. If it is snowy outside, take care to protect your pet’s feet from ice and salt used on the sidewalks and streets. Lawn decorations, including inflatables and giant plastic figurines, can be quite scary for a new puppy. Take caution around these objects and bring treats to entice the puppy to walk past anything that makes them uncomfortable.
DO provide your puppy with a safe place. The holidays can be filled with many family and friends visiting your home. Have a safe place for your dog to go when they are feeling overwhelmed. Signs of stress in your puppy may include not wanting to greet a certain person or barking. A crate is a great tool that can help your dog feel safe when stressful activities are happening around them.
DO socialize your little furry family memeber. Your puppy is at a very impressionable age, so it is best to expose them to other dogs and people during this time period.
DO form a routine. From holiday parties to Christmas concerts, this festive time of year can be very busy. As always with a new puppy, however, it is important to keep your dog on a consistent schedule. This applies to waking up every morning and keeping bedtime consistent, as well as feeding and walking your dog at similar times each day. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be for your dog to adjust to their new home. A steady routine will also help your pet to have fewer accidents in the house.
DON’T slack on potty training. Extreme winter temperatures might make going for a walk seem like a huge chore, but just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean you can slack on potty breaks. Bundle up with your jacket and mittens and take your new puppy outside! If you have a short-haired or small dog, don’t forget to bundle them up too! A jacket will keep them nice and toasty during their winter walks.
DON’T feed your puppy food off the table. As tempting as it may be, don’t feed your new puppy food off the dinner table. Feeding your puppy scraps could lead to your dog begging or counter surfing as they grow older. Don’t forget, not all of your holiday food is safe for your dog to eat. Better safe than sorry! If you really want to treat your dog to some of your holiday feast, fix them their own plate and don’t feed it to them off the table. You can always stuff a rubber Kong toy with some dog-safe holiday food, this way it will keep them busy while keeping them safe. Chicken or turkey without the skin would be a great treat for your new pup, however, limit quantities to avoid an upset tummy.
DON’T overwhelm your new furry family member. While it is great to socialize your young puppy and have them meet as many new people as possible, be careful not to overwhelm your dog. Remember that your puppy is in a new situation and a bunch of strangers in your home can be quite scary. Have your dog meet as many people as they seem comfortable meeting, and if the situation seems to get a little scary, make sure you have a safe place for them to go.
The holidays can be a fun time for you and your new puppy, but make sure that you do everything you can to set your new dog up for success and make their first holiday season a great one!