Christmas Eve and pet management

Only four weeks to go before the Holidays! And these four weeks usually fly by with all the things we have to get done before Christmas. If you are the lucky one who invites the family over, there are usually even more things to include to an already busy schedule.

We would not want to be the one who adds more tasks to your to-do list. But, as a pet owner, it would be important to have a pet management plan to ensure that your evening is stress and accident free. Even the most well-behave pet can turn into a tornado around dozen of guests, a lot of tasty food, and fun gifts that are often decorated in even more exciting wrapping.


If your dog turns into a barking machine at the sound of the doorbell, you might want to read this previous post from Halloween:

If your dog reacts to the doorbell and shows no territorial aggression toward the guests, you can perhaps reduce some of your stress and training time by simply sticking a message on the door that says, “come inside, and ignore the dog”. This should do the trick for a quieter evening!

Then, here are three management solutions to choose from during the evening:

1)   Isolation

This one is simple enough and easy to implement, as long as your pet does not suffer from separation anxiety. Minimize management by simply keeping your dog away from a situation, and have him stay instead in his cage, or in a calm and comfortable room. Make sure that you add a message on the door to keep guests out of this room: Your dog must be able to relax, without worrying or looking forward to someone coming into his quiet place.

You can isolate your dog during special key periods, such as guest arrival time, dinner time, or gift sharing time, so that he does not jump on the guests, steal food, or harass kids when they unwrap their presents. You might also want to isolate your dog all evening long if you simply do not trust him in this busy environment, or if you are way too busy to do some simple management. Your dog will probably prefer spending a quiet evening alone, than spending the evening being yelled at or punished.

2)   “Stay”

Dogs that are used to go to their bed or in their cage on command, and reliably stay, can simply be asked to offer this behaviour to keep them out of trouble during these same key periods. As they can be trusted to “stay”, there is no need to have to resort to physical isolation.

It is however important that you ask your guests to not bother your dog when he is in his quiet spot: He should himself trust that this is somewhere he can go to when he needs to get away form all the action. Have everyone (yourself included!) respect him privacy on this stressful night for him too!

3)   Umbilical Cord

If you want to keep your eyes on your dog during specific periods or all evening long, the umbilical cord allows you to do just that. Just leash your dog, and keep him tied to yourself: He will have no other options than to stay out of trouble! He will learn for instance to sleep at your feet at dinner time instead of begging food to the guests, or to relax near you when kids unwrap their presents instead of trying to steal their toys. Another advantage is that you are also able to keep an eye on your guests to see how they interact with your dog, to prevent any uncomfortable or dangerous situations.

Do you have any other pet management solutions to share?

Happy Holiday Preparations!