We hope you have had a good Christmas with your dogs 🎄
We are now in the interim between Christmas and New Year so we have a week to prepare our dogs to another big event: New Years Eve!!
While this can be a time for us dog owners to celebrate looking forward to a new year and hopefully a refreshed positivity, it can be very different for our dogs and instead be a time of worry and anxiety due to celebrations in the home, neighbourhood fireworks parties, loud sounds on TV etc.
Dogs can find changes unnerving or overwhelming depending on their normal character and having just had Christmas with new scents, sights, sounds and potentially visitors, furniture changing layout, Christmas crackers at lunch making a loud snap, routines running differently to normal and more, many dogs will already be ‘over threashhold’ and not in a level mindset to cope with anything additional for many days as a result.
However we now have New Year’s Eve fast approaching which can mean many dogs won’t have emotionally rebalanced before the celebrations etc on 31st December and this can cause dogs to go completely over their comfort levels. So we often see dogs display anxiety and fear such as shaking, frantically racing about, digging to try and hide or when hugely over threashhold they can shutdown completely and stop eating, interacting etc or worse; turn to various ways to relieve some stress such as biting their tail or legs to the point of bleeding!
So we can use the next few days to help prepare our dogs for another busy evening by trying to provide some form of calm and regular routine for a few days. This might mean just popping scented candles in a drawer or container, reducing use of Christmas tree lights, ensuring our dogs have times of full rest and access to places of calm especially if you have visitors. Resting helps the body heal as well as balancing emotions and hormones so is more important then it may appear!
Consider ways to help our dogs stay calm and not be exposed to additional stress for a few days, which may include limited time in the garden if there’s a neighbouring dog that upsets your dog or cut down on walks for a few days if walks can cause some worry or over excitement of some kind. If your phone alerts tend to wind your dog up maybe have your phone on silent or change the tone, or even look at calming methods such as massage, self selection, online relax dog classes or offering foods that naturally help calm such as Blueberries, Kale or Pumpkin Seeds.
Preparation for New Year’s Eve
As with Fireworks Night and Fireworks Season we can prepare our dogs for New Year’s Eve celebrations and possible fireworks to see in the New Year.
If your dog hasn’t heard Fireworks before or hasn’t been present during a house party or gathering then consider how you can help your dog in advance;
🎉 Ensure you make available a space or room for your dog to go into for some quiet time so if it’s too noisy / busy they can take themselves away. This might be a covered crate, under a table with a tablecloth over, access to under a bed, inside the under stairs cupboard etc.
🎉 If you plan to use something to reduce anxiety such as Rescue Remedy or DAP Diffusers start using then now so it has time to build up in your dog’s system.
🎉 Start playing sounds of people talking, glasses clinking, fireworks going off while your dog is playing, having fun, running about in the garden etc so they can have a chance to experience the sounds while they are in higher arousal which helps with not finding sounds etc worrying. If your dog is already noise sensitive then playing sounds is less likely to help so looking at ways to calm your dog would be more recommended!
🎉 If your dog needs soothing have a look at ways you can give Massage, TTouch or even Galen Myotherapy. There is also Relax Dog Online sessions and Meditation online for dog owners and dogs to do together.
🎉 Using Zoopharmacognosy or Botanical Self Selection can really help dogs by offering them a series of scents such as essential oils, hydrosols and herbs and dogs will inhale what they instinctively need.
🎉 Taiko Drums have proved a popular choice for dog owners to try this year so going online and downloading a track or two could help your dogs if there are fireworks near you.
🎉 Remember again after New Years Eve dogs need a chance to rest and allow their hormones and mindset to return to normal so this may mean a quieter or shorter walk New Year’s Day, less playtime, not meeting other people or dogs if you usually do.
We would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2022 – from all at Dog Training for Essex & Suffolk