Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, full of family, food, and gratitude. It can be easy for dogs to get overwhelmed, though, so it’s worth it to plan ahead to help your dog be the perfect guest this Thanksgiving, whether you’ll be at home or bringing them with you to visit friends and family. Perhaps your dog gets worked up by the doorbell, overexcited by guests, or begs for table scraps more than you would like, but you can still have a good day. Here are 5 tips to help your dog be a terrific Thanksgiving guest this year.
#1 – Wear them out before dinner
The best way to keep your dog calm during the big meal is to wear them out ahead of time. This might mean an extra-long morning walk, a good game of fetch, or a trip to the dog park. Whatever your pet’s favorite method of burning off energy is, do a little more of it before the excitement of guests and table scraps has them causing a scene.
#2 – Keep them busy with a puzzle toy
There are plenty of ways to keep your dog busy while you are eating and socializing during Turkey Day. You can provide a durable toy filled with peanut butter and/or other treats (pro tip – freeze it for a few hours to make the treat even longer-lasting!). You can give your dog a puzzle toy, where they have to work to get treats or kibble out. Or, you can give your dog an all-natural bully stick to keep them busy.
#3 – Give them a designated spot…
In order to help prevent your dog from running out the door or jumping on guests, give them a spot where they are supposed to stay. It can be a bed, a crate, or even a towel on the floor. Give them treats in that spot and have people go see your dog in their spot instead of having your dog get rewarded for jumping on people.
#4 – …And train them to go to there when the doorbell rings
This can take some time to teach, but you can train your dog to go to his special spot and wait for a treat any time the door rings. This is a great way to keep your dog inside, away from the door, and not jumping on people as they enter the house.
#5 – Share carefully
Many of the foods people traditionally enjoy on Thanksgiving, such as turkey, yams, and string beans are safe to share with your pooch if they’re plain. Just be careful your dog doesn’t snag anything harmful to them, such as stuffing, which can be made with onions, or mashed potatoes that are loaded with garlic and butter. Check out this list of toxic foods – it might surprise you: 10 Foods You Didn’t Know Could Hurt Your Pup).