Puppy Diary number 11: Mastering the holidays with a puppy

Dear Diary,

Every year, from October 31 to January 1, our life is interspersed with special events, festivals and fun. While we, people, can understand such things as “this is Halloween, so tonight the doorbell will ring a hundred times, but there is no reason for alarm,” our puppy Sommer does not have the same ability. If only I could explain the reason and calm her fears! But, alas, the same applies to lovingly wrapped gifts under a tree. Anything on the field is fair play and a potential toy, right? And while we are doing this, I can imagine how she asks herself: “What happened to the spruce inside the house? What is this madness? It is interesting to look at the holidays from the point of view of a puppy.

When we turned the corner and headed for the last few months of the year, our family was almost frivolous from the wait. Sharing holidays with a puppy would mean a memorable moment after a memorable moment. Imagine our puppy in a Halloween costume! Playing with ribbons from discarded Christmas packaging! Tasting some thanksgiving turkey! At the same time, I realized that the holidays would be full of potential pitfalls. (Recall the dreadful visit to the emergency room that happened when Sommer took Adville's bottle for a tasty treat. No one needs to repeat this episode!). I do not need Sommer to break into a bag of chocolates for Halloween – that's for sure – and I was determined not only to enjoy the holidays with our puppy, but also to ensure its safety.

Halloween was our first stop in the holiday fight, and to be honest, it was he who terrified me. As I said before, opening the door to our house was a work of two people, since one person controls the dog, and the other welcomes our guest. The prospect of a continuous ring at the door, to put it mildly, was not attractive. And I wasn't the only one who bothered: many dogs feel bad on Halloween. According to Bark Busters, the world's largest dog training company, Halloween is a time when they hear more about the death or delusion of dogs. It makes sense, because if Halloween intends to scare or scare us, it will do the same with the puppy.

In our house, Halloween also meant guests, as our children often invited friends to dinner, followed by a treat or a scary film that caused enthusiastic shouts and screams. All this agitated energy could be an excessive stimulation for Sommer, and it did not even take into account how the doorbell rings and is dressed in costumed children screaming "trick or treat!". Chocolate is also toxic for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. When the children returned home after a ruse, I made it clear that they could unload their bags and exchange sweets, but this should be done on the table in the dining room, and not on the floor of the family room.

My goal was for the children to have fun, keeping Sommer as calm and protected as possible. Fortunately, Sommer has been around children all his life, therefore, despite the fact that children can be unpredictable, loud and aggressive in their behavior, groups of children do not bother her. However, the last thing I wanted was Sommer to get scared and run out the front door!

Sommer was able to greet the friends of the children and enjoy the dinner. As soon as the children went for a walk, I lifted the Sommer upstairs, where we rested in the main bedroom while my husband was in charge of maintaining the doors. At first she whined and walked a little, but then sat down with a chewing stick. After the hardest period of the trick or treatment had passed, Sommer and I went downstairs, and she was able to meet a random group of children at the door without incident.

The remaining holidays of the year were less insidious than Halloween, thank God! Whether it is Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or Boxing Day, the holidays mainly included raising puppy manners around guests and disposing of potentially toxic items. Now I have friends who close the dog in another room when they receive guests. Or they could even send the dog to someone else's house for a game or an overnight stay. And trust me, I understand! Any of the options makes sense if your dog may be overloaded with visitors or may be under the feet in the kitchen. (The only thing you do NOT need is to stumble over a dog while carrying a turkey dish on Thanksgiving Day at the guests table).

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