Column, Love Your Dog: Prepare your pooch for the big day

Dog trainer and behaviourist Lynne Marshall with Goldendoodle Teddy  and Labradoodle Bonnie EMN-150515-091542001
Dog trainer and behaviourist Lynne Marshall with Goldendoodle Teddy and Labradoodle Bonnie EMN-150515-091542001
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Lynne Marshall, who lives in Nether Broughton, is a dog behaviourist and trainer. Here she talks about keeping your dog happy over the festive period.

Exercise - before friends come over or before leaving your dog at home make sure he is well exercised. Drain his energy to ensure he gently snoozes while you are out or entertaining guests.

Be mindful of tree ornaments and decorations – your dog doesn’t know the difference between a toy and a decoration and so it’s up to you to keep him safe. Dogs can get themselves into trouble very quickly and an emergency trip to the Vet is not where you want to be on Christmas Eve. When you go out make sure he is safely contained for complete peace of mind.

Watch out for unexpected toxins around the house – friends and family may not know that chocolates, chicken bones, grapes and rich foods can cause a nasty stomach upset for your pooch. Common holiday plants like Holly and Amaryllis are also toxic to your dog and are best kept well out of reach.

Dogs as a gift - dogs can make wonderful gifts but they aren’t easily returnable if the fit isn’t just right. Please make sure that the new owner is ready to commit to a lifetime of responsibilities before you spring the surprise present.

Practise good manners - spend a little time training your dog to sit when guests arrive to encourage polite well-mannered greetings. Ask your guests to ignore your dog when they first arrive and only pet him when he is calm. Never introduce an excited child to a dog either as this will cause the dog to get very excited too.

The true Christmas spirit - finally, if you can, spend some time this holiday to give back. Donate some time to an animal rescue or take a bag of dog food, blankets and toys. It will be much appreciated and will spread the generosity of Christmas to those dogs less fortunate than your own.

Have a wonderful Christmas from my pack to yours!