Monday, December 16, 2013


It is around this time of year that I get a slew of questions regarding the holidays.  People ask things like:

Should I take my dog with me on vacation?

What should I do with my dog when the family comes over?

Is it safe for my dog to have turkey / ham / pecan pie / etc?

How can I keep my dog from jumping on the table / people / etc?

Are poinsettias really bad for my dog?

Where should I place my Christmas tree so I know my dog won't damage it?

The thing with most of these questions is that they all depend on your dog and your lifestyle.  So, let me first address the more generic questions.

Is it safe for my dog to have turkey / ham / pecan pie / etc?
I'll be honest.  I'm fairly lax here and will often give my dogs a small treat or let them lick my plate.  However, just like with most things, there is definitely such a thing as too much of a good thing.  I would never give my dogs a whole plate of turkey or even their own slice of pie.  Chances are it would make them sick, and I'd be left cleaning up the mess.  And there are a few things that aren't so great for any dog.  Raisins (which are found in many Christmas desserts) can be dangerous and pork is almost guaranteed to make them sick.

How can I keep my dog from jumping on the table / people / etc?
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: obedience, obedience, obedience.  A dog who is in a down / stay or place is not going to jump on the table or your grandmother.  In addition to that, though, a lot of exercise will help your dog stay a little more relaxed and that should help keep them on all four paws as well.  Lastly, if your dog is not trained and you don't think you're going to monitor him / her, consider boarding or day care.  I'd rather you drop your dog off somewhere for a night than get horribly frustrated.  There are enough frustrations during the holidays.  Your dog shouldn't be one of them!

Are poinsettias really bad for my dog?
Surprisingly no.  Most people think the white sap and the red leaves in a poinsettia are deadly for both dogs and cats, but that's a myth.  While the berries can be somewhat toxic, poinsettias pretty much have a needlessly bad rap.  Still, though, you must ask yourself if you're OK with your dog or cat eating your plants.  If you're not, you may want to stick with an artificial version (I have one at the kennel that's nice to be able to use year after year).

For all the other questions, it really depends on your dog.  Do you have a calm dog?  Does your dog enjoy traveling?  Is your dog fully house trained?  Are you willing to watch your dog a little more than normal while there are new distractions?  What about your family?  Are they dog people too, or are they having trouble comprehending why you would want anything in your house that has fur on it?

Personally, my dogs are always part of the festivities.  They travel with me, and they're there for everything except Christmas Mass.  They're well-behaved through Christmas dinner, and I just keep a little extra eye on them as people start coming in (they love being around new people and will sometimes get a little over-excited).  Not everyone is like that, though, and not everyone has a family that is as dog-friendly as mine.  If you think your dog may cause more trouble than you can handle, it may be best to board your dog, have a friend watch your dog, or even just put your dog in a separate room for a few hours.

I hope the next few weeks find you relaxed and happy.  No matter what your plans for your dog over the holidays, spend this next week enjoying your dog.  Go for long walks, play games, just have a good time.  I promise it will put you in a good mood and in more of the holiday spirit!



  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post. I will try to get the hang of it!

    Kind Regards,

    Colin Seal
    click over here now

  2. hi i have a german shepherd x border collie who is terrified of crowds and loud noises, i have tried medication a stress relief things but i hasnt worked. please help!

  3. If you are tired of stepping in puddles of pee with your bare feet, you absolutely must know about the great resources out there to help you potty train a dog.

  4. Hello!! My puppy who has been sleeping with me on my bed for about 2 weeks now suddenly just peed and pooped on the bed when i left her for about 10 minutes because i was bathing the other puppies (her siblings). I put her back to the crate now as punishment. What shall I do now?? I still wanted to sleep with her on my bed but I'm worried that she might do it again. And what was the probable reason why she did that? PLEASE HELP AND ANSWER ASAP :(

  5. I am new to this blogging thing- so I am not sure where the appropriate place is to submit my I will try here. I have a dog that is just over a year old but I have only had her about 3 months. She has transitioned very well and was basically house broken when I got her, she just had a few little kinks that we had to work out. All is good now with potty habits. She is a chihuahua/dachshund mix and is very loving, but very protective, she is not aggressive though. My friend has a chihuahua that is about the same age but she has had for longer than i've had Brownie. They adore each other and get along very well. No issues at all. The problem that I am having is when my friend's dog comes to my house, I am noticing some of the blankets that they lay on have been peed on. Now it is only a small amount of pee, like maybe a couple tablespoons, most of the time I don't find them wet, I can just smell it, so that is why I know it is only a very small amount. This does not happen when my friend's dog is not here. Is it my dog "marking" her territory, or could it be my friend's dog? Is there any way to tell...but more importantly, how can this be resolved? It is SO frustrating. Any advice is appreciated!

  6. Hi,
    I have a question and would really appreciate any help. My husband and I got a bull mastiff- Rottweiler mix 7 months ago and he started being aggressive with our 3 year old and 1 year old right away. He is fine with me and my husband but growls at the kids. He has growled very viciously since bringing him home. He growls if they pet him on his back or get close to him when he has, food, water, or a bone. Sometimes he growls for no reason. The kids are never mean to him and are never alone with him. We tried getting him trained two weeks straight with no change. He has actually nipped my 3 year old son once that didn't draw blood but did leave a mark and make him cry. My question is there any hope for him or do you think he will always be aggressive? We don't have money to get him trained anymore. He hasn't been fixed yet but people keep saying he will stop being aggressive after he's fixed but he's been doing this all along. Would appreciate your advice on to keep him or not. Thanks so much

  7. Dear Valerie,
    Dear Valerie,
    Thanks for this blog. I have a question, wondering if you could help. I have an 11-year-old collie, very healthy. We're moving to an area that has no grass or park to let her lose nearby.

    The problem is that over the years we have always lived near a park and she got used to ONLY pee or poop over grass, over leaves or snow. She has never peed on asphalt, sidewalk or the curb.

    Do you know how can I teach her to go on the curb at this age? Any help will be appreciated. Thank you much!

  8. If you need to puppy house training for all habits, you should let him to join the best way to dog training classes in the market of Singapore.

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