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Tips for a Relaxing Thanksgiving

Holidays can be incredibly stressful.


Between travel, meal planning and prep, family politics, and a disrupted schedule, Thanksgiving takes a lot of energy and attention, especially for something that is supposed to be about sitting around the table and relaxing.


There are strategies to help make your dog find Thanksgiving less stressful (long walks before guests arrive, practicing ‘place’ behaviors when people are entering/exiting, having good chews on hand to occupy the them while you are busy) but what I would like to tell you today is that it is going to be okay. You will be okay, and so will your dog, even if the turkey is dry and the family stories are exchanged over Zoom this year.


Some dogs and people find the stimulation of visitors and All The Foods to be exciting and energizing. Others would be much more comfortable with a quiet day spent with less disruption from their routine.


Does your dog stress with new people? You are not failing anyone if you decide it would be better for the dog to spend Thanksgiving day behind a baby gate in your bedroom with some chewies, the TV on for white noise, and some snuggle time while you sleep off the food coma.

Not a bad way to spend a Thursday, if you ask me!

Does your dog like to counter-surf and steal food? Spending the day at daycare or boarding while there’s unguarded treasure sitting on the counter is much preferable (and cheaper) than an emergency vet visit later.


Does your dog love the chaos and joyfully participate? You’re not going to damage the dog by insisting that all interaction be on-leash and low key (and that they have a good long nap with a chewie in his crate or on the back porch while you’re too busy to supervise.) On-leash makes it easier to keep four feet on the floor, too.


Be gentle with yourself. This is a stressful time of year, but your dog doesn’t read the calendar, and they’ll be just as happy with an extra-long hike avoiding the stores and doing recalls for leftover turkey bits on Friday as they would to participate in some picture-perfect Instagram dinner where you’re constantly worried about having to manage him/her.


It's too late to schedule decompression walks with Venture Dog Training for Thanksgiving Day this year, but we're happy to consult with you if you need help coming up with the best way to help your WHOLE family (including pets) have a peaceful Thanksgiving. Schedule your free Discovery Call now .

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