The holiday season is here. Maybe you’re scrambling around trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list – including your dog! You may be considering that plush reindeer squeaky toy you saw at the store. Or even maybe a new Christmas-themed collar. Your dog would love those!
But what’s the best present for him? How about being present!
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Your dog is a pack animal. All he wants is to be with the people he loves – you!
The problem is, so many of us get so busy in December that we sometimes spend less time with our dogs than usual. And not only that, that extra holiday stress can weigh on you and your dog may just pick up on it as well.
So, take a break from the hustle and bustle and de-stress by being
Taking the time to enjoy each other’s company can make a world of difference for you and your animal. Spending time bonding with your dog will not only relieve you of the stressors that come with the holiday season
So, how can you be present with your dog this holiday season?
Be Present With Your Dog
Five Merry Minutes
Really the simplest way to be present with your dog is taking 5 to 10 minutes out of your day to relax with your dog. Sit and cuddle for a few minutes before leaving for work. Take a break from baking those delicious holiday cookies to pet your dog and tell him how much you love him. Taking these extra 5 to 10 minutes in your day to show your animal how much he means to you can make a huge impact on his happiness during such a hectic time! It can also relieve your stress, so don’t skip it.
Walking In Wonderland
Take him on a walk. Your dog requires daily exercise to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle. Sometimes we forgot this when we’re focused on gifts and parties. And you’re both missing out as a result.
Walking your dog or taking him to the dog park are not just great ways to bond with your dog. These activities are also great for your health (both of you)!
And let’s not forget, giving your dog the affection and exercise he deserves will also give him a calmer disposition, making things around the house this time of year a little bit easier if he is normally a high-strung dog.
Cell Phones Ring, Are You Listening?
Turn your cell phone off. Seriously.
While these devices can provide us humans with temporary happiness, they can also take us away from what’s important … our dogs!
Have you ever been talking on the phone or scrolling through social media on your computer and your dog starts to whine or bark at you? This is your dog’s way of communicating to you that you are not being present. Put it away, turn it off or put it on airplane mode. Take that time to do training exercises or toss around a ball out in the snow.
Limiting the amount of time you spend on technology
Your dog not only wants your presence
This can take a toll on your dog’s ability to sleep. While the night may seem silent to you, it’s not very quiet for your dog. Did you know that your dog can hear the electronic clock on your stove top ticking? He needs a good night’s rest that only silence and darkness can truly provide him. Allowing your dog to sleep without any distractions can be one of the best gifts you give him this holiday season (and all year long!).
What Child Is This?
If you’re like me and get together with your family and friends during the holiday season, then you know that having people come to your house can be stressful at times. Maybe you have an aunt who doesn’t like dogs. Or your sister is bringing her kids to town and they like to pull on your dog’s ears and tail.
This isn’t just stressful for you; your dog is feeling the tension too. And while it’s important for your guests to feel respected by your dog, it’s equally important that your dog feels respected by your guests. It’s his home too.
I recommend having healthy, natural treats stocked in multiple places around the house. Your guests can give him a treat every now and then to show him what a good boy he is! And remember to create a safe space that your dog can escape to if he wants – a room that no guests are allowed in.
I also highly recommend setting boundaries for your guests. If your sweet nephew or grandchild is pulling on his ear, try to be consistent with your expectations and ask him to stop. You must remember, you are your dog’s voice!
Home For The Holidays
Being home for the holidays may seem like an obvious way to be present with your dog. However, a lot of people go out of town for the holidays to visit their loved ones. This is fine, but remember that when you board your dog or leave him with a sitter it can be very stressful for him. Try to gather at your home for the holidays. If you’re going out of town, try your best to make accommodations to bring your animal. Even having someone check in if you’re gone for a long stretch of time can help make your absence easier.
If you have a lot on your plate during the holidays, taking a break to give your dog the attention he needs can be quite relaxing! Taking 5 minutes to cuddle him, turning off your phone every now and then, and making sure your holiday guests show him the kindness and respect he deserves can make a huge impact on your relationship.
Sure, the treats and toys and collars are great, but really all your dog wants for the holidays is to be with you. Include him in your holiday activities as much as you can and be present to show him how much you care. I hope that these six tips can help make your dog’s holiday season that much merrier and brighter!