Overeating, strange relatives, no time to exercise, traveling… and that’s just what your dog is dealing with during the holidays. It’s no surprise that many of the things that cause us stress at this time of year also have an effect on our dogs. Now is the time to observe your dog for signs of stress and take extra care to reduce his stress this month. First, what are some of the behaviors a stressed-out dog will display?

  • unusual house soiling, i.e. soiling your belongings
  • abnormal scratching and chewing
  • constant barking or whining
  • destructive behaviors, i.e. pushing things off tables, tearing up furniture or other belongings

Also watch your dog for any physical signs of stress like drooling, obsessive grooming, itching, rashes, etc. So what can you do to keep your dog calm and well-behaved?

  • do not skip daily walks, they provide exercise, leadership and mental stimulation
  • keep up your good training habits like having your dog perform a sit before meals
  • absolutely no indulging with people food or extra treats
  • skip the holiday costume, it may be itchy and heavy to your dog

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as the teacher of your children, and remember “Opportunity Barks!”

(C) Jim Burwell 2010