Regardless of what we celebrate this time of year, we all know the vibe is different. Things get busier and louder, and our routines are off.  Just like people, our pets do notice it – the good and the bad.  For a good number of dogs, this has been their first year in a home, and all of this is brand new and must seem like craziness!

  • Our work schedules change (maybe not as much as we would like, but they do!)
  • More visitors coming into the home, which may stress dogs, any day of the year
  • New smells – food, people, plants
  • A tree?  Wait / what?  Did humans bring a tree into the house?  So confusing!
  • Doorbells – the Amazon delivery guy is enough to throw a dog off their game, let alone several times a day.
  • Dog walk times change
  • Kids are home more often
  • TV/music may be on more / less
  • Lots of unearned treats

As responsible pet owners, we need to step up our game by ensuring we set our dogs up for success. (Cats know how to scatter and stay away – just watch out for the front door escapes).  Some helpful tips require training and planning and are not something you can put in place today, but add them to your list of New Years’ Resolutions

What can you do today?

  • Create a safe spot for your dog.  It may be up in your bedroom.  Haul their bed, toys, food, all to that spot, so that they can avoid visiting when they don’t want to.
  • Don’t allow them to charge the door. You likely know when your guests are arriving: ensure your pup isn’t the greeter. (We know they may typically be friendly, but tis the season for a lot of changes)
  • Watch your pup for signs of over-excitement, and anxiousness. While you may know the excitement will just last a few hours / days / weeks, they really have no idea what is happening.
  • Give yourself a time out and just go chat with your dog. Check in to see how they are doing. They will appreciate your grounding energy.


  • Train dog to do “place”.  This is so helpful for getting your dog to stay / no approach / not get loose.  It is a way of allowing your dog to gather themselves while they take it all in.
  • Dog-Cave.  Like a man-cave, ensure your dog has a safe place to retreat to.  This must be in a spot where they can get away – upstairs, downstairs, laundry room. Avoid the main living areas, doors used a lot, etc.  It needs to be a place rarely travelled by guests. And – everyone needs to learn to respect that space and ensure it’s off-limits to humans.

Remember: always do whatever you can, to set your dog up for success!  Help them be the best version of themselves by investing in them.

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