It’s holiday season already, can you believe it?
Every year around this time I get so many panicked emails and calls that go a little something like this:
”I have family coming and they want to bring their dog but my dog doesn’t like other dogs…or my grandkids will be attending and my dog is very anxious around children. How can I train them during the holiday to get along?”
Then I respond…”Well Don’t.”
You know how holidays and family get-togethers are.
The house is loud and there is preparing and catching up. Music, conversations ... and there are grandchildren running around
stories to be told and laughs to be shared and we want to savor every moment.
And sometimes, even managing our own expectations and emotions can be a bit overwhelming in this moment.
So adding dog training to the mix…Why exactly?
As I have shared with you
many times, being a great communicator and trainer with your pup has so much to do with:
Not panicking and allowing narratives to overtake what’s actually happenin.
properly observe use your words
understanding what the pup in front of you needs
paying attention to the dog's behavior in the context of his character & environment
This does not happen overnight and when done well, this is not something you can wing. It's not something you can do while 90% of your mind is thinking about the whats on the menu. Definitely not something you can do while playing with the kids or watching footbal.
"Training during the holidays" is often short for "training absent-mindedly while also doing a million other things". You cannot at the same time connect with family, cook a big meal and adequately manage and train the reactive dogs in the family. By trying to do it all at once, you won't get to really excel at or enjoy anything. A good pet parent is ready to react well to the dog's behavior throughout a-training session. That's not always compatible with being a good host at the same time. This can lead to a angry & discouraged pet parent time and time again who tried to fit training into the holidays. In the end, it lead to arguments, dogs becoming fearful or lashing out, all in all that were not actually trained better and frustration all around.
WHEN ITS FAMILY TIME ITS FAMILY TIME….
Training Takes Time…we can’t rush it.
Take a holiday break. Be fully present with your family - and after the holidays, you can come back to being fully present training with your pup. In the meantime, use management. If your daughter is coming over with her dogs that don't like your dog - keep them in bedrooms with gates at opposite ends of the house then rotate out. Give them a good bone to keep them occupied. Take them on separate walks.
Dog training done well means that we are observant, flexible and present - and that we can enjoy each moment!
Know when you are in a good place to train - and when to use management instead!
Happy Turkey Day from…
Adia & the Woof Pack 🦃