Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year where you can catch up with family and friends and show off your baking skills. For your dog however, Thanksgiving can be a bit overwhelming — especially if it’s their first one. At Canine College, our dog training professionals have often been asked what the best approach would be to making sure dogs are safe and happy during the holiday. We’ve included a few crucial tips for you and your family members that won’t detract from meal prep and socializing.

How To Handle Your Dog During Thanksgiving

  • Review Commands. If you’ve been training your dog with us at Canine College, then now is the time to practice some of those commands you and your pup have learned. Review sit, stay, heel and other basic commands that will prevent your dog from charging at guests as they enter the door or from bolting out of your home as soon as they get the opportunity.
  • Establish a Safe Zone. Most dogs have a place in the house they go to if they are feeling threatened or scared. Be sure that they have access to this space once your guests start arriving. Dogs who aren’t familiar with a particular person may feel threatened, even if your dog is friendly and lovable. Also don’t forget to discuss with your guests about whether or not they will also be bringing their furry friends with them — as this could end up being an issue. Even the nicest dogs may get territorial. Always have a place where you can separate your dog from other guests’ pets.
  • Reduce Begging. This may be one of the most difficult behaviors to prevent during your Thanksgiving celebration. Before you start plating the food, be sure to feed your dog either right before or during the serving process so that your dog is fed and may be less inclined to beg for scraps. You can also decide to put your dog in a separate enclosed room while your guests are eating so that your dog won’t approach guests for food.
  • Monitor Table Scraps. As dog owners, we want to make sure that our dog is part of the family during holiday meals and celebrations. It’s important to keep in mind that not all Thanksgiving food is good for your dog! Small turkey bones can get lodged in the throat or stomach, bread and other dishes that include gluten can cause stomach issues, and keep the desserts away at all costs — especially chocolate. At Canine College, we recommend small pieces of turkey (off the bone), steamed beans or a small bite of mashed potatoes.

If you have further questions about food, training, or commands, don’t hesitate to contact our dog training company in Holbrook MA. Our dog boarding facility is also open during Thanksgiving for those who are heading out of town. Contact us today!

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