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Holiday Guide

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The holidays are a busy time for all of us, and sometimes our dogs don't get the attention they need.  Here are some tips and tricks to keep your dog included and well-behaved during the holidays.

Your dog is part of the family, and whether you are entertaining guests or enjoying the holidays at a loved one's house, your dog needs to be on its best behavior.

As a trainer, one of the most common questions I get is, “how do I stop my dog from jumping on my guests?” Correcting this behavior starts with you. You can't allow the dog to jump on you and expect it NOT to jump on everyone else.  You encourage the jumping behavior, so by not allowing him to jump on you and telling your guests to only pet him when his paws are on the floor, you are deterring the bad jumping behavior and rewarding him for the good behavior.  This behavior is never corrected immediately so be patient and stay consistent!

We all know the holidays mean a abundance of delicious food dishes, but what about our dogs? What delicious do they get around the holidays? Here are some holiday foods that are safe for dogs.

1. Sweet potatoes
2. Fresh green beans
3. Corn
4. Pumpkin(NO SEEDS)
5. Fully cooked deboned skinless turkey meat

These foods are commonly found in their existing diet and are safe to feed your dog, IN MODERATION, and with plenty of water.  There is also an abundance of homemade dog treat recipes you could find online that use holiday leftovers.

**A tip from a trainer**
If you plan to give your dog any of the above foods make sure to make them work for it. Even during the holidays there are no free lunches! This means a dog should be on its best behavior when given holiday treats and foods.  Do not give an overly obnoxious dog a piece of turkey if he is jumping on family members.  This behavior should not be rewarded with food. Instead, ask him to sit or lay down and stay on his mat while everybody eats, then give him a piece after dinner.  This ensures two things- one, he is not begging at the feet of your guests snooping for scraps that might fall.  Two, it reinforces his down/stay by giving him a reward while he stays on his mat.

The holidays can also present many dangers to your dog. Knowing these dangers can help you
sail through the holiday season without a trip to the vet.

1. We all know Chocolate can be harmful for pets, but there is also an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which is used in sugar-free baked goods, that can be deadly to your pets.
2. Yeast dough is another harmful holiday food that can lead to painful gas, and dangerous bloat.
3. Turkey bones pose a choking hazard so make sure you secure turkey bones in the trash away from easy access by you dog.

Some holiday plants can also be a danger to your dog. Here are some plants to keep an eye on:
1. Mistletoe, and Holly.
2. Christmas trees.
3. Lilies and Daffodils.
You can find the full list of toxic plants here.

Quick action is vital to the safety of your dog. If you believe they might be poisoned or have gotten into something poisonous contact you Vet immediately.

**Side note- I have had a wonderful experience in a very trying time with the ASPCA poison control when my own dog ingested a potentially poisonous substance.  They were very helpful, and calmly guided me through the necessary steps. They have a 24 hour 365 day hotline you can call (888) 426-4435**

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