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As we get ready for Labor Day to announce the end of summer, I wanted to share some tips to help you and your dog have a safe and fun time. You might be finalizing your plans or just in the early stages of figuring out what you want to do, either way there is still a chance to make sure your dog is included and you both have a good time as well.
Questions to ask yourself if you are having a party at your house
First of all, if you are hosting a party then here are a couple things to ask yourself:
- How many people (men, women, and children) are coming over to your house?
- Does your dog like kids?
- How long is the party going to be?
- How are you going to help your dog handle it all?
- Do you have a friend/person to help with your dog?
***Tip 1 – you can use food toys that can keep your dog busy and provide mental stimulation (get rid of some of your dog’s energy) like:
***Tip 2 -make sure you have some high value treats to reinforce the interactions with people and other things as a positive experience. A couple ideas for treats could be:
- Natural Balance Roll (you can cut the roll into small pieces that are the right portion for your dog).
Questions to ask yourself if you are going to someone’s house/out of town
If you are going over to someone’s house or another option for a few hours, overnight, or a couple days, these are things to ask yourself:
- Should I bring my dog with me?
- Can I keep my dog safe and have a good time?
- Will there be other dogs around?
- Should I leave my dog at home and have a professional care for my dog?
- Did I check or ask the place/person if I can bring my dog?
**These are additional questions on top of the other ones I mentioned above **
Know your dog and how he/she is with noises, people, kids, different places
This is important to make sure you do not risk yourself or dog because you want to have fun and decide to do something last minute. It would be okay if it was just you, but having a dog adds a different level of planning to consider. I am not trying to ruin your Labor Day, just help you to make it easier to chose a good time for you and your dog. Maybe going somewhere by yourself while your dog is being cared for by a professional pet sitter is a better option. Or going somewhere that is less crowded and dog friendly would work too. The options are limitless but knowing if your dog can handle it is the most important. The word no should be easy to say even if it means you cannot go out or have to make some difficult decisions.
Dogs need breaks from activities and need to be kept safe
When we are having fun either with people out in public or people over at our house, we can forget to check on our dogs and give them necessary breaks from the activities. If you have a friend who will be with you during Labor Day and he/she knows your dog, I would ask them if they could help with your dog. Your friend can take your dog into another room or take your dog on a walk while you can still have a good time.
Giving your dog a break in another room or in their crate (if they are crate trained). Make sure you or your friend set the timer on a cell phone to check on your dog (30 minutes is a good starting point). Using the dog treat and putting it in a dog food toy makes it a positive experience when you leave them alone on their break. If you have a radio then that could act as white noise (from hearing the noise of the party). Make sure there is nothing your dog could destroy if they get stressed out (which can happen at a party-since it is not a normal routine necessarily for a dog). Finally, communicating (text, call) with your friend to get your dog from the break is important as well. Leaving your dog too long unattended is not going to be a good thing as well.
Care for your dog if you are leaving town
I have hinted above in this post that having a professional pet sitter hired to take care of your dog is very important if you plan to leave town. As I have been a professional pet sitter as well as a dog trainer I know the importance of finding someone who is reliable, trustworthy, and knows how to keep your dog safe and happy while you’re gone is vital . Also, I know that plans can change quickly with very little notice. Professional pet sitter’s are very accommodating and are use to expecting and anticipating changes that Client’s sometimes (even my clients) did not see coming. I would find a professional pet sitter in your area and make sure they have a back up plan for an energency and can accommodate you if things change. The best way to enjoy a holiday is to have great communication so you and the pet sitter as well as your dog all are on the same page. Pet Sitters International has an area on it’s website to search for pet sitters by zip code (I am a member as well).
As a dog owner you might think, if I keep all the food out of reach for my dog then things will go well. That can definitely be true however at social gatherings there are more chances for your dog to get a hold of things that he or she normally would not go for. Kids drop food and dogs are smart (if they are not scared of kids) to stay near them if they are at the party. Also, there could be some people at the party who do not know that some human foods can be toxic to dogs if they eat them. Finally, eating human food can cause your dog to have an upset stomach and diarrhea. Therefore, make sure everyone is told over and over to not give your dog any food. Happy dog, happy owner equals a successful Labor Day.
There are a couple things you can do to help your dog:
- Give your dog a break in a room when the food for the party is being served.
- Have your dog on leash with you so as to safely watch your dog (or a friend do it for you) when food is around.
- Tell everyone not to give any dog human food.
I hope this post was helpful and gives you ways as a dog owner to celebrate any holiday successfully by planning what works best for you and your dog. If during the holiday you plan to go on a walk I have created a Dog Walk Supplies Checklist http://bit.ly/dogchecklist that could be useful if you’re going out of town (make sure you have what you need), or maybe just look at what you carry on you for walks with your dog and see if it could help improve them.