The UK Registry of Canine Behaviourists have issued their Ten Tips for a peaceful canine Christmas
Seeing Christmas from a dog’s perspective is the best way to avoid behaviour problems over the festive period according to the UK Registry of Canine Behaviourists (www.ukrcb.org).
“Christmas is a very unnatural time for dogs”, say’s Lisa Graham, Press Officer for the UKRCB, “To begin with there are more people, children and other dogs than usual, more excitement and more food and presents to be interested in. We also put a big tree in the middle of the house!”
“It can also be a stressful for dog owners who want their animals to behave at this time. If you start to think about Christmas as your dog does you will have a better understanding of their actions and motivations.”
To help dog owners enjoy a peaceful Christmas the UKRCB have come up with the most common situations in the house and ten tips to follow:
1. Food everywhere
Continue with your usual feeding regime with just a small amount of extra Christmas fare of an appropriate type. Avoid giving your dog chocolate (poisonous) cooked turkey bones (easy to choke on), raisins or grapes (both toxic).
2. Over excited owners and visitors
Ensure visitors and excited children don’t overwhelm your dog by letting one person interact with the dog at a time. 3. Lots of presents to play with
Do not include your dog in the opening of presents or he’ll soon learn to believe that everything on the floor is his to destroy.
It may seem fun to children but stop them teasing the dog with human food, human toys or tuggy game.
5. Christmas tree in the house
Don’t put any human food related presents under the tree or leave puppies and young dogs unattended near it.
6. It’s Party time
If you let it your dog will eat off the buffet table – don’t leave food easily accessible or let your guests feed party snacks to your dogs.
Christmas has busy and quite times, buy some treat dispensers and chews to provide stimulation when attention may be restricted.
8. Strangers in the house on the sofa
Maintain clear and distinct boundaries for behaviour- if your dog is not allowed on furniture, forget letting him up “just this once”
9. Children in the house
Take the dog out for a good early morning walk so he can settle down at least for the morning when excitement for children is usually at its highest. Adult supervision of kids and dogs at all times.
10. Not enough room in the house
Like humans, sometimes Christmas can be sometimes be all too much. Make sure you dog has a quiet place where he can go for some peace.
Founded in 1992, the UKRCB (www.ukrcb.org) comprises a nationwide network of canine behaviour advisors who offer a comprehensive referral service to veterinary surgeons and owners of dogs with behaviour problems such as aggressive tendencies toward humans or other dogs.
As well as dog aggression issues, the UKRCB also deals with compulsive behaviour, inappropriate barking, separation related behaviours, nervous or fearful behaviour and many other common and not so common canine conditions.