Holidays are coming. The festive season is a busy time for most families. Friends and family come and go, deliveries arrive at the door, delicious aroma waft from the kitchen, and a jolly noise means someone special is coming. We’re not the only ones affected, our Labs are, too.
Some of them enjoy the change, but others find it confusing and stressful. Your normally calm pooch may suddenly begin to show unusual behavior, like stealing food, jumping up on people, or growling or snapping at visitors. To have a peaceful holiday, you need to communicate and demonstrate to your Lab that while things may be different than usual, you will continue to keep them safe and secure.
An insecure dog, regardless of breed and size, tends to become confused in new situations – they are unsure of what to do. Because they feel threatened, they may get defensive and snap or bite people.
A well-balanced dog, on the other hand, is at ease meeting and being in the company of others – whether dogs or people. They have been introduced to different situations and are secure in the knowledge that they have remained safe through all of them.
Here are some tips to help calm your Labrador and keep everyone safe during the holiday season.
Labradors and young visitors
Labradors who live in a house with no children may find it uncomfortable when kids come to the house. The chaos and noise created by little children will naturally raise the energy level in the house. This might cause the pooch to worry or get stressed.
Make sure to always check the kids and dogs when they are alone together. This is when most dog bites happen.
The parents of very young childrenneed to be vigilant. They should monitor their youngsters’ interactions with the house Labrador. Parents should also teach children to treat Labradors with respect and gentleness.
Do not invite a kid to feed the Labrador by hand because this teaches the Labrador it is okay to take any food from a child. Since children are small, the Labrador may see them as an equal, and try to take advantage of the situation.
Labradors need security and boundaries
Our Labradors need to have their own “house”— a space where they feel secure and calm. If your Labrador doesn’t one, make one for him.
A crate or pet carrier can be a safe haven for your Labrador. Keep the area where you put the crate or Labrador pillow quiet, and direct your Labrador to go there when you need to set boundaries. They may not like being separated from you,but will still feel secure.
If your Labradorstarts to bark or nip at visitors, take him away from the area and keep him in his safe place until your guests have gone.
Keep your furry friend out of certain rooms where he can get underfoot. For example, training your pooch to keep awayfrom the kitchenis a good safety measure. It also helps to stop them begging for food.
If you’re taking your Labrador on your travels during the holidays, taking their crate or carrier with you. This will help them feel more relaxed, since “home” is where he finds you and his familiar bed.
Senior Labradors prefer calm
If your elderly pooch gets irritable around visitors, take him or her to their special quiet place where they won’t be bugged and can feel safe.
Tell children to be more respectful towards older Labradors. Always keep an eye out when Labradors and kids are together.
Front door manners
A knock on the door or the ring of the doorbell is exciting for a Labrador. They see it as fun or alarming. It is natural for a Labrador to be eager to know who the visitors are. They also want to know whether they are friendly or not.
Labradors that explodes with excitement at the front door are both stressful and unsafe. In the excitement they could do just about anything – rush out the door, dash on to the road, or knock your guests over.
To help your Labrador—and yourself:
- Exercise your Labradorbefore guests start to arrive. Allow at least 30 minutes of walking or playing. That way, your Labrador will more likely be relaxed or want to take a nap.
- Do not allow your pooch Labrador to greet unfamiliar guests in the house because commotion and human festivities can cause stress for Labradors.
- Consider a leash while guests arrive to maintain better control of your Labrador.
- Trainyour Labrador to sit and stay on command. When somebody knocks on your door, put your Labrador in a sit-stay. Do not open the door until he calms down.
- If your Labrador still gets overly excited with arriving guests, takethemaway from the scene ahead of time.
Have a nice holiday!
Image credit: Pete Markham/Flickr, Budweiser/Youtube
Source: Hamlet Hub