It’s time for our last training challenge of 2020! Keeping with our holiday and enrichment theme from last month, this month’s training challenge is inspired by the “Safety” chapter of our book, Canine Enrichment for the Real World.
Create a holiday safety enrichment plan
Holidays often bring about a lot of décor changes within our homes and some of those changes are safer than others. Plants like poinsettias and mistletoe are toxic to our furry family members (and us). Candles and wagging tails present fire hazards. Extra candies around the house make for prime counter surfing targets.
Then there are those holiday decorations that aren’t necessarily dangerous in and of themselves, but that we still need to include in holiday safety plans, like Christmas trees. Or things like decorations with sentimental value that need to be protected from our pets rather than the other way around. And that’s just the decorations!
Here are 7 tips to creating your holiday safety enrichment plan:
- Manage during meals. Just like we talked about last month with Thanksgiving, sometimes management during family meals is the easiest solution. Set up the environment to keep your pet out of the kitchen or in another room entirely during holiday meal prep and eating if need be.
- Manage stranger danger issues. Holiday parties are not a great time to work on your pet’s stranger danger issues. This is probably not as much of a problem with this year’s holidays, but something to keep in mind for the future. Put your pet completely away so that you don’t have to worry about anyone’s safety while you’re celebrating. They’ll be happy to be away from the festivities, too.
- Keep ornaments, lights, and tinsel off the bottom branches of your tree. All can pose as hazards, whether ingested, tangled up in, or knocked off by your pet.
- Keep candles out of reach. This is easier said than done for those of you with cats in your home.
- Keep hazardous gifts out of reach. Make a note of any gifts (especially food items) that are hazardous for your pet to get into and ask anyone else sending gifts if their presents should be kept out of reach too.
- Watch the wires. Make sure that wires are well-hidden from pets who are prone to chewing.
- Exercise pens are a Christmas tree’s best friend. Do you have a dog who’s a little too interested in your tree? Put a free-standing baby gate or exercise pen around your tree. Here’s the link to an exercise pen that we like (also pictured below). Disclosure: This is an affiliate link. We receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. This helps us continue to put out free content to help you and your pets live more harmoniously!
There are, of course, many other things that you may want to include in your holiday safety enrichment plan and each person’s plan is going to look different depending on how they celebrate during this time of year. We’d love to hear what’s included in your plan!
- Decide how you’d like to create your holiday safety enrichment plan. Does it make sense to create it as you decorate? Are there parts you need to plan for before you start?
- Gather any management tools you need. Pick up baby gates, exercise pens, and the like before you need them.
- Discuss your pet’s holiday safety enrichment plan with your entire household and anyone else who is visiting your house. Make sure that everyone is on the same page to limit slip-ups.
- Be prepared to tweak your pet’s plan based on how it’s going. The best plans are dynamic.
- Share your plan with us on Facebook and Instagram @petharmonytraining
Happy training & happy holidays!