Christmas is an exciting time of year. Everyone is gathering together and there’s so much energy bouncing all over. It can be overwhelming for our dogs, so we’re going to discuss how to calm a dog down when they get too wound up.
You get excited to see friends and family that you haven’t seen in a while and chances are that your canine companion does too.
There’s a buzz in the air as people come in and greet one another. There’s a lot of chit chat and hugs. Everyone is so happy to see one another.
Your dog feeds off of these emotions. There’s a good chance that they start to get swept up in the holiday cheer and need some help regulating all of that energy. You’ll need to help redirect them and calm them down.
Afterall, no one wants their dog to accidentally knock over a guest because they’re happy to see them. They might knock something from a table if they run by. There are a lot of accidents waiting to happen in the wake of a dog that can’t settle down.
Of course, excitement isn’t the only thing that can cause a dog to run around and act out. Maybe they’re stressed or overstimulated and want a place to hide.
In any case, let’s take a look at some ways to calm a dog down.
How to Calm a Dog Down with Routine
Have you been in the scenario where yours or a family member’s work schedule changes and then your dog starts acting out? They might start chewing on things or running around when they normally don’t.
Maybe you didn’t even connect those two occurrences at the time and we’ve just shed some light on it. That’s okay too.
The important takeaway here is that routine is important. It offers a sense of security and safety for your dog. They like knowing what’s going to happen and when.
When their schedule changes too much, they can become overly excited or feel overwhelmed. This can cause them to act out.
So, this holiday season, between parties and holiday dinners, try to keep your dog’s schedule as similar as possible even on those days when you have obligations.
It will give them a sense of security and calm on a day that is most likely going to be extremely hectic otherwise.
How to Calm a Dog Down with Quiet Time
Whether Christmas guests cause your dog excitement or anxiety, it’s a good idea to create a quiet space just for them.
If your dog starts to feel overwhelmed, they have a safe place to hide. If your dog and your guests need a break, because everyone is a little too excited, you have a safe, quiet place to put your dog while they settle.
Ideally you’ll want to use a room that’s away from the festivities. An office or bedroom are both great options and the chosen room is even better if your dog likes to use that space as their usual get away.
You can include their crate and some of their favourite blankets to make the space extra inviting to them. Don’t forget to include some toys as well.
Something that can be stuffed with treats like our Fenrir Hammer is a great option. Chewing is a naturally calming activity for dogs and it will give them something to focus on other than your guests.
How to Calm a Dog Down Using Toys as a Distraction
As stated just a moment ago, our Fenrir Hammer is a great option for a calming toy. It can be stuffed with your dog's favourite kibble, wet food, treats, peanut butter, or any other dog safe option.
Not only that, but it can be stuffed and frozen ahead of time for a long lasting treat.
Our Dragon Egg is another good option. It works in the same way the hammer does, but it’s shaped differently. Sometimes our dogs have different preferences and it’s important to find a toy they like.
If your dog isn’t much for chewing toys, you can try a puzzle bowl. These can be filled with kibble or wet food. Your dog has to pick the food out of the maze and can’t simply take a large bite.
A good option if your dog likes kibble, dry treats, and scent work is a snuffle mat. You’ll hide the dry pieces of food or treats in the folds of the mat for your dog to sniff out and eat.
You’re probably asking “But, how does this help my dog?”
All of these options provide a good distraction for your dog. They give your dog a goal by making them work for their food.
Not only does giving your dog a task distract them, it gives them a mental workout. Did you know mental stimulation can be just as exhausting for your dog as running around the back yard or playing a game of fetch?
This makes things like toys the ultimate “quiet activity” for your dog.
How to Calm a Dog Down and Reduce Anxiety with Exercise
If your guests and all of their cheer are too much for your dog, you might consider taking them outside for a little while.
It doesn’t need to be a particularly long or intense play session either. A ten minute walk around the block can be enough to help reduce anxiety and settle your dog down.
Taking them for a walk can also help break up the day for them so they aren’t inside with what’s causing them stress all day.
If you have a very energetic dog who gets excited for guests, you may want to consider taking them out to play several times while everyone visits, to help them curb all of that energy.
You can even play more vigorously with your dog about an hour before guests are supposed to arrive. This will help make sure they’re worn out before they have a chance to get wound up.
How to Calm a Dog Down by Limiting Guests
Some of us absolutely love hosting a huge Christmas party. It’s our favourite time of the year. We want to host everyone we know and love.
Unfortunately, a huge crowd can be very stressful for your dog. So as much as you love having everyone in your friend circle and your family over, you may want to consider scaling back.
A smaller gathering may be just the thing to help keep your dog settled during the holidays.
If you absolutely have your heart set on hosting everyone, try several smaller get togethers.
How to Calm a Dog Down by Taking a Breath
We know that the holiday season is a stressful one. You’re trying to get dinner on the table for you and your guests. The kids are overly excited.
It’s a lot. You probably feel stressed even if you aren’t letting on.
The final straw might just be your anxious or excited dog. Something or someone accidentally gets knocked over and it’s the final straw.
Take a breath.
If you’re worked up, your dog is going to feel that. They pick up on your body language and emotions.
You can help your dog stay calm by remaining calm yourself this holiday season.
If you start feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and take a break. Everything is going to be fine.
The holidays can be a hectic time for you and your dog, but there are some things you can do to help them.
When it comes to how to calm a dog down, there are so many options. You’re bound to find one that works for your dog.
Don’t forget to prepare in advance though. You don’t want to be caught without plans in place.
Make sure your dog’s “quiet place” and toys are set up beforehand, and let guests know that you’ll probably be taking your dog out on a walk a few times while everyone is visiting.
These things will help you have a safe and successful holiday.
Do you have a few ways that you keep your dog calm during the holidays?
Come over to our social media page and share. We can’t wait to hear from you.
FAQs About How to Calm a Dog Down
Are there specific signs that indicate my dog is getting overwhelmed during the holidays?
Yes, some signs of an overwhelmed dog can include pacing, excessive barking, panting, trembling, hiding, or displaying other unusual behaviours. It's important to pay attention to your dog's body language.
Can I use essential oils or aromatherapy to help calm my dog during Christmas gatherings?
While some essential oils are safe for dogs, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian before using any aromatherapy products. Some scents can have a calming effect, but others may be harmful to dogs.
Why do dogs get so excited during the holidays?
Dogs often pick up on the heightened energy and excitement of people during the holidays. They may also be influenced by changes in routine and the presence of new guests.
How can I introduce my dog to new guests in a way that helps them stay calm?
To introduce your dog to new guests calmly, use positive reinforcement training. Have guests offer treats and allow your dog to approach them at their own pace. Avoid overwhelming greetings and noisy welcomes.
Is exercise essential for calming a dog down during the holidays?
Yes, exercise can help reduce anxiety and energy levels in dogs. A short walk or play session can be enough to help your dog relax and cope with the holiday excitement.