The first Christmas with a young dog can feel daunting and stressful but with a little preparation you can sail on up to Christmas feeling cool and confident that you are ready to enjoy the festivities and not derail your puppy’s training.
Pack towels in case your puppy gets car sick, take breaks for water and wees and a stretch of the legs. If you think they are likely to be sick or aren’t used to being crated I wouldn’t use their usual crate to transport them. This should be viewed as their safe happy space and you don’t want them to change their mind about it and not want to go in there should they have a rough journey. You can transport your puppy safely with a seat belt attached to their harness on the back seat or by securing them in the boot.
Plan for quietest travel times and set off when your puppy’s is due a nap so they sleep the first hour or so.
If they aren’t used to travelling in the car, spend the next two weeks taking short journeys to get them used to travelling. You will also see how they do in different spots in the car and you can decide where is safest so you don’t get distracted while driving.
Ginger biscuits can help settle a travel sick tummy.
If you are going to family, take the main bits of equipment with you to keep things familiar for your puppy. Crate, bowls, bed, blankets, toys, familiar scents will help settle your puppy.
Walk your puppy at their usual time and set their crate somewhere quiet where they can rest away from the action.
Wherever you are stick to your routine as closely as you can so they know what to expect and don’t feel unsettled. Christmas is a hectic time already so they may well feel overwhelmed. This may be characterised by acting up, being more bitey than usual or listening less. Help them through the holidays by keeping some normality in their day and they should be settled in return.
Utilise your Christmas guests by asking them to walk your puppy so you know they are occupied.
Side note on that to curb stress levels.. You won’t have as much time to watch your puppy as usual if you have guests so do a quick sweep of the house to make sure important things are out of reach and won’t get chewed while you aren’t looking.
If family are coming to you, let them know about your routine and where your puppy is and isn’t allowed. Ask them to keep the back gate closed for example or the kitchen door shut so you aren’t constantly worrying about where the puppy is.
If you have family who aren’t used to puppies you can show them how to interact nicely so they enjoy their company rather than squeal every time they jump up. Give them toys to protect their hands from being chewed. Watch younger children if they haven’t been around dogs before. Don’t let them climb on your puppy or hug them. Ask them to stroke puppy gently so play is nice and calm and don’t leave them together unsupervised.
Wow there are lots of things to watch out for Christmas food wise but don’t panic. The main culprits are:
Raisins (Christmas pudding, mince pies and Christmas cake!),
Bones from chicken/turkey carcasses,
Leeks, onions and garlic
Nuts- macadamias, walnuts and salted nuts especially
Salty foods like gravy and meat skins.
It’s probably easiest to ask all visitors not to feed your puppy anything. if everyone gives your dog tit bits it will soon add up to a lot of extra food making them feel quite poorly.
Have a think now if there is anything you need to practice with your puppy-
Spending calm time behind a baby gate at mealtimes
Settling on their bed
Not putting their paws up on the work surface
Not jumping up
Wear silly hats, beeny boppers and introduce them to banging noises (Christmas crackers), singing bears and reindeer so they aren’t scared of new sounds and sights.
Practice ‘leave it’
That way you will feel ready to go when the big day arrives and you also know your puppies capabilities.
Prep up those Frozen kongs so you have them ready to dish out. For recipe ideas click HERE. Buy more long lasting chews like YAK BARS or other NATURAL TREATS to keep your puppy busy and out of mischief.
Enjoy the holidays! It’s going to be so enjoyable watching your puppy tear up the wrapping paper and it’s a great opportunity for valuable socialisation time. Meeting new people, mixing with other pets and having new experiences. Know your limits and your puppies and you’ll have a great time. If you need any support or have questions about how to avoid overwhelm this Christmas get in touch HERE