With New Year almost upon us, remember that your dog doesn't know it's time for celebration. Nor does he know that people making a lot of noise and staggering around is perfectly normal human behaviour during the festive season.
Celebrations can go off without a hitch by following these simple guidelines to ensure that your dog remains happy and stress-free over the coming weeks. Your dog may not understand your strange behaviour. Lots of visitors, lots of drinking, lots of laughter and the occasional argument, that family gatherings can produce, may be very confusing for a dog used to a quieter life.
People's behaviour can become unpredictable after a few drinks. Some people may become very loving and want to fuss and cuddle your dog. Your dog may accept some odd behaviour from you, but may object strongly if others are suddenly overcome with the urge to hug your dog tightly around the neck. His natural instincts may take over and they could end up getting bitten.
The stumbling walk that accompanies a few too many drinks can frighten the friendliest of dogs. So does the strange smell and slurring voice. Be mindful if you come home late after you've been celebrating. Your dog may not realise it's you, due to your behaviour and he could lash out at you in fright.
If you're going to have a party, send your dog to a neighbour or a friend's house for the night, or put him in an indoor crate in a bedroom away from the noise of the party.
If you come home late and a little worse for wear, don't over love and greet your dog. He already knows how much you love him.
If you've had a great day and end up lying on the floor, don't wrap your arms around your dog if he comes over to investigate your strange behaviour. Let him sniff and remain still until he moves away.
Be aware of what visiting children are doing with your dog. He may not want to have his ears tied up with tinsel or go for a ride in the doll's pram.
Remember that chocolates can be toxic to dogs. The odd one may seem ok but if all of your visitors give him one, you could have a very sick dog by the end of the day. You might be too festive to notice that he's unwell.
With all of the disruption to your dog's routine, that the festivities bring, it could leave him feeling very stressed. When we bite someone's head off, sooner or later we'll probably be forgiven. When your dog uses his natural instincts to let you know that he's unhappy then it could turn out to be the last festive season he spends with you.