Tis the season for decking the halls, trimming the tree, baking delectable goodies and filling our homes with friends and family, merriment and cheer.  While there are so many wonderful traditions to embrace during the holiday season, environmental changes sure can take their toll on our pets. Decorations, lights, changes in schedules, and new people coming and going are extra stressors to pets used to daily routines. The best thing owners can do for their pets is provide them extra love, attention, and distractions from the holiday hustle and bustle.

The Certified Professional Dog Trainers at Fur-Get Me Not share their tips for keeping your pet busy and stress-free this season.

Take a Hike

Walking with Dog Winter

During regular workweeks, sometimes we barely have enough time to fit in several quality walks with our dogs. Take advantage of time off during the holidays and plan a day to walk or hike some of our area’s trails and greenways, or explore an area outside of town.  Both you and your dog will love the relaxing and beautiful scenery and extra time together.

Set Up a Play Date

Two dogs on a walk playing in winterIf your pooch loves the company of other dogs, plan a play date with a pet you know your dog likes.  Or switch up your daily walking routine by heading out with a pup and their person from your neighborhood.

Play Time During Family Time

Dog with FamilyLots of family hanging out at home this holiday season? It can be great fun as a family to come up with ways to play with your dog.  Family members can schedule times to work on tricks with the dog and then have a “show off” contest, where each family member shows everyone else what they’ve been working on.  YouTube is a good place for place inspiration and visual guidance!

You can also play “find it” games:

  • Hide a treat in easy spots first where you know your dog can find it, then gradually hide the treat in more difficult locations.
  • Wrap treats in an old pillow cases or a paper lunch bag and see if you dog can retreive them.

And don’t discount the old standby – Catch!

Go Shopping

Shopping with dogsLet your pup take part in holiday shopping and support our local businesses by browsing shopping districts like Old Town Alexandria, Shirlington, and Georgetown.  On the way home, stop at a pet store and let your pet sniff around, leading you to the toys that interest them.  You will be suprised how dogs will sometimes choose their favorite toy when presented to various options.

Keep Pets Busy and Stress-Free Holiday Christmas Season

Fur Get Me Not Training

The Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT) at Fur-Get Me Not are committed to teaching people to train their dogs using positive reinforcement training methods based in science, with a focus on learning theory and animal behavior.  Besides training, Fur-Get Me Not offers the Northern Virginia and DC area full-service pet care including in-home pet sitting and dog walking, a dog daycare, and a DIY dog wash and retail boutique.  Learn more about Fur-Get Me Not on their website.