Updated: Aug 19
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It’s less than a week until Thanksgiving! The hectic days full of parties and visitors are nearly here, and it’s time to get serious about training, tips, and treats, so this holiday season can be more enjoyable for you and your pet. In the final part of this three part series [Read Part 1, Read Part 2], we’ll cover some tips to help you utilize training and treats to make the holidays go smoothly.
You’ve been working on your pet’s training for weeks (or even months!) now. You’ve set aside some of the healthy holiday foods to use as treats for your pets. You’re getting ready to host or head over to the big holiday get together, and you want your pet to be prepared too! Follow the guide below to set everyone up for success: 4-7 Days Out
Tighten up on all the routines and manners that you want to enforce when your guests are over. Make sure your pet is always sitting before entering your personal space, staying “out” during meals, waiting for permission before going through any doors, remaining calm in place when you walk in the door, and waiting for permission to hop up on the furniture with you.
Continue to stick to your pet’s daily exercise schedule (at least 20 minutes of structured exercise each day). Too cold to exercise outside? Head to a pet-friendly store to get your steps in with your pet AND work on keeping their focus on you amidst the hubbub.
Make sure you have enough food and medication for your pet to get through the holidays. You don’t want to have to run to the pet store in the middle of the festivities!
If you have family or friends that don’t own pets and are traveling from a distance, consider reminding them that there will be pet hair at your house! They may wish to avoid packing clothes that attract pet hair like fleece jackets, etc.
Practice prolonged “place” each day to ensure your pet is able to be part of the festivities as much as possible.
1-3 Days Out
Fill and freeze puzzle feeders and toys to give your pet something destructive to work at and munch on during your get together. (Need to find some new puzzle feeders and fillable toys? Check out my recommendations for dogs and cats in my Creature Faves Kits!)
Increase your pet’s exercise! Even if you don’t have time for an extra walk every day, you might be able to squeeze in a treadmill session, play some tug, or even recall your pet up and down the stairs a few times. You’ll give them an “exercise hangover” that will help them to remain a little more calm during the holidays.
Wash pet bedding and soft toys and give your pet a bath to reduce the pet smell in your home.
Politely remind your family and friends that you are working on training with your pet! Let them know any rules they’ll need to follow (ignore your pet until calm, don’t feed table food, etc).
Print out your Pets in Training sign for the front door and find a treat container to set out with it.
The Day Of
Get up early to squeeze in an exercise and snuggle session with your pet before the craziness begins.
Hang your Pets in Training sign on the front door and place the treat container nearby.
Before guests begin to arrive, contain or leash your pet. You’ll want your pet to be in place while your guests arrive to prevent door dashing and to keep your pet calm. If your pet is crated or shut in a separate room, give them one of their prepared food toys/feeders.
Whenever your doorbell rings or there is a knock at the door, ensure that your pet is staying in place before you answer the door.
As you welcome your guests, remind them to ignore your pet until you give them permission to say hello. Wait until your pet is completely calm before allowing any interaction. If your guests want to give your pet a treat, make sure your pet is showing calm behaviors and good manners before they get their reward.
If your pet gets too excited, overly friendly, or overstimulated, send your pet back to place until they are calm again. Don’t feel bad about crating your pet during a party! It keeps your pet and guests safe. If at any time you aren’t able to monitor your pet, it is best to contain them for their own safety and for the safety of your guests. Give them a chew toy or frozen stuffed toy/feeder to wear out their brain while they are crated.
Remember to utilize your “out” and “place” commands during mealtime to keep you pet out from underfoot and ensure they don’t eat any food that is unsafe for them.
Are you worried that despite these tips your pet still won’t be the well behaved pet of your dreams? Schedule a training consultation with King’s Creatures today so Laura can develop the best training plan for you and your pet. Consultations are offered in your own home or online via Zoom meeting. Looking to give your loved ones the gift of a well-trained pet? Email a King's Creatures Gift Certificate directly to their inbox!