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Understanding dogs at Christmas

At Dogs Trust, we have always been forward thinking in our attitude towards dog behaviour and training and we recognise that new discoveries are being made all the time. You just need to look around one of our newer rehoming centres to see how things have changed. Our centres are very much focused on dog welfare, making a stay at Dogs Trust as stress free as possible for our dogs.

This week I attended a really informative dog behaviour seminar delivered by Tamsin Durston, Canine Behaviour Officer.  It's so important that these crucial discoveries are being shared with younger generations and I am looking forward to sharing the knowledge that I I have gained in the schools that I visit in the future.

Our Be Dog Smart workshops focus on how human behaviour can have an impact on the way that dogs respond to us and the children taught by our Education Officers should leave workshops with a sound knowledge of common situations that a dog can become easily distressed. Teaching children to recognise that dogs experience a range of emotions very similar to ours, helps them to understand how a dog may feel and allow them change their own behaviour to keep both themselves safe and their dogs happy and comfortable.

With Christmas fast approaching we can get so caught up with the shopping, preparations and celebrations that it can be easy to forget that it may not be such a fun time for our dogs. I know my own dog can find the constant stream of visitors, wrapping paper and excited children a little bit overwhelming!

Christmas can be a difficult time of year for some dogs. Dogs live very much ‘in the moment’ and will not understand that their walks may be less frequent over this time or that we have less time to play. The temptation to involve our dogs can also be difficult for them to understand – if your dog isn’t used to parties at a friend’s house every week, then they are unlikely to enjoy it once a year! Dogs thrive when provided with a routine and are much more comfortable if they know what will happen next.

I truly hope that all of the children that I have met since beginning my role in October, have a magical Christmas.

I also hope that amidst all of the excitement that the next couple of weeks will bring, they will remember to consider the feelings of their dogs, making sure that theirs is a happy Christmas too!