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Home for the Howlidays

Author: Erin Schneider | Date: December 23, 2011

I have a six year old Westie named Bailey, and she has never missed a family holiday. I am very lucky that she travels very well by car and also as a carry-on companion on planes. I am also lucky to have relatives who accept her in their homes. But just because my relatives are open to her coming over, it doesn’t make the experience stress free for me or Bailey.

Holidays are especially stressful for both dogs and humans. In my families households, Bailey has to deal with other dogs, excited kids, distracted adults, loud music, awesome smells coming from the kitchen and many other things that can easily stress her out. As her owner, I have to try to make the experience as comfortable as possible and also respect being in a different house.

To make the holiday experience the best for Bailey I make sure to do the following:

  1. Bring her kennel so she has a familiar place to escape to.
  2. Come prepared with plenty of toys, food, Kongs, bully sticks, etc. I always bring a bag full of Bailey’s things.
  3. Give her plenty of time outs, preferably in a separate room with no humans or dogs. This gives her the chance to calm down and take a breath. I always make sure to give her a Kong to keep her from getting bored and to help rid of some of that mental energy.
  4. Give her plenty of potty breaks. When dogs get stressed, they may need to relieve themselves more often. It’s also normal for us humans to get preoccupied and forget to take them out, so it’s best to keep it fresh on the mind.
  5. Go for a few walks each day. This is the perfect time for your dog to get rid of some of that excess energy and also a nice time for the two of you to spend some time together.
  6. Try to take some time each day for just the two of us. Maybe it’s a walk, or maybe a nice cuddle session. Whatever it is, I know she appreciates it and I do too.

Remember to be respectful when you are at someone else’s house, especially if they have pets. Know their rules about pets on the furniture, at the dinner table, around babies and kids, etc. Also, be aware of open doors to the outside, open ranges and ovens in the kitchen and other objects that could be harmful to your dog. When I go to my in-laws, we have family coming in and out all day. I put a leash on Bailey so I don’t have to worry about her running out the front door.

The holidays are a very fun time of year and with a little forethought, they can be just as fun for your pet. Happy holidays!


    1. Sliddell says:

      LOVE the picture. You are an amazing trainer. I have learned a lot from you lately.

At no other obedience school would we have received the kind of attention and encouragement that we have gotten from the AnimalSense staff.

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