Having a puppy or young dog in the house can rock your world, right? I’m sure many of our FADA families can attest to that! If it’s been several or more years since you’ve had a puppy in the house, see our Letter to First-Time Puppy Owners here and our blog on the Reality of Puppydom here.
The hectic holiday and Christmas seasons can add more worry and stress to the already large pile of things we must do, but never fear! Fine and Dandy Aussiedoodles is here to help! Having a puppy or young dog in the house doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate with trees and decorations and all the trimmings! It doesn’t mean we can’t have guests over, and it doesn’t mean we can’t travel to Aunt Linda’s house.
We can still have a beautiful, fun holiday season, but how that looks might change a bit. It all comes down to creative preparation, consistency, empathy, and love.
Here are some amazing tips to keep Christmas merry this year.
Preventing Christmas Tree Catastrophes
The size and type of tree, whether real or artificial, can come into play depending on the age and personality of your pup. If you know they wouldn’t leave the tree alone; you can purchase a smaller tree and place it up on a table, out of the puppy’s reach.
If a smaller tree isn’t an option, you could get one of the customizable exercise pens, aka expen, and set it up as a barrier in front of the tree. An alternative to that would be placing a baby gate in the doorway of whatever room the Christmas tree is in to block her from getting into the room. One puppy parent I read about purchased smallish panels of white picket fencing that she then placed in front of the tree in the fashion of an expen. She decorated it and made it into a whole matching look with the tree and other decor.
If you chance it and place the tree as usual, consider securing it to the wall or another very sturdy structure.
Preventing Decorating Disasters and Other Faux Paws
Now that the tree is up and secure, it’s time to decorate! This might not be the best year to use Great Grandma’s antique glass ornaments. Instead, opt for more durable tree trimmings like plastic, wood, or fabric. Likewise, do not use popcorn strings or any food item, and avoid tinsel as both--the string and the tinsel--can devastate the intestinal tract. Hide lights and wires deeper into the tree and cover or block plugs. No one wants to replicate the horrible (but hilarious) cat scene in Christmas Vacation!
Beware of placing presents under the tree, especially any food items. You may find one day that your gifts have already been unwrapped and full of slobber. Consider placing any doggie gifts under the tree the day you plan to open them.
Be aware of bowls of candy, candles, or food scraps lying around. Place them all out of reach. Move them to the back of the counter, as the pups can be taller than you think when on their hind legs!
Safe Places and Perfectly Imperfect Puppies
Have a safe place for the puppy to go. In her crate or a secure room. Always put the pup in her crate or safe place while away. Watch her body language and if she appears anxious, overly tired, or scared, put her down for a nap. This is especially important if you have guests over or are the guests.
If having guests, prepare the pup and the people beforehand. Also, warn any overnight guests to put up their medicines, luggage, shoes, and anything they may not want to be chewed or recommend they keep their door firmly shut. Let folks know they aren’t to give Fido any table food or candies. Read this blog on what foods are safe for your dog during the holidays or any time of the year.
If you're traveling with the pup to family's house, be sure to bring her crate, leash, harness, bed or blanket, food, and anything else she’s used to having. Try to stay to as much of a routine as possible and try to exercise her well, so she’s more likely to be well-behaved. Tired puppies are good puppies!