Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guide Dogs and Holiday Guests Holiday gatherings can be stressful, particularly for your guide dog. Guests coming and going amid joyful greetings can be confusing for your canine friend. We have provided the following hints to make this time of year run smoothly for both of you.
  • Even well-meaning guests need to be reminded that your dog is not to have table scraps. Try not to allow guests to give your dog extra treats. It is easy for a dog to pack on extra holiday pounds. The resulting weight gain is not healthy. Rich party fare can wreak havoc on your dog's digestive system.
  • If you will be visiting or you have guests in your home, keep in mind not everyone is used to the attention from dogs. Keep control of your dog.
  • Monitoring your dog's location while off-leash is important when guests are about. Doors opening and closing can be a distraction for your dog - make sure it is safe inside your home.
  • Let guests know your dog is not to be encouraged in behaviors that are counter-productive to training. Guests may think it is cute when they have taught your dog tricks. When all the holiday trimmings are packed away and your breakfast goes missing from the same table, cute is probably not how you would describe it. It is not your dog's fault if that behavior has been taught and rewarded.

5 comments:

Jessie said...

I agree with the above tips. I have friends who have said "it won't hurt him". True, the food alone will not appear to hurt him, but in the long run, weight gain can result in further health problems. My guide. Heartsong apparently suffered from this "extra niceness", gained weight, and resulted in an inflammatory condition in his elbow. From the vet's recommendation, he was put on a diet, and as soon as he was within his target weight range, the condition disappeared altogether. Now, I never let Heartsong beyond my sight, there will always be well meaning people, who try to get to your dog's heart through their stomach and not realize they are potentially hurting him.

Heide Illgen, Grad Ser. Mgr said...

It will be interseting to hear some of the story of holiday visits or visitors please share some of the fun days that you and your guide have expereanced.

majorshouse said...

With my last guide, I let people sneak things to him and after awhile he got large and had to go on a diet and really had to watch him, but with Major, he gets no people food unless he has gotten something off of the floor that I ahve not been able to find and he enjoys going with me to my parents and other relatives houses, but is really good about staying under the table and not begging because he knows it is not allowed and I have really been strict with him to keep him at the weight or right about the weight he was when I received him nearly 1 1/2 years ago and on Friday he will be three. Where does the time go?
Lin and Major

Susan said...

Danny was on his best behavior untill we got to the pool. Then he started to wimpor and wine and really fuss. Then he started to pull really hard. I think he wanted to to swimming.
I droped my wine cooler that was the problem. Danny really likes wine coolers. He helped me clean it up. That was funny I tried to clean it up faster then him but his toungh was faster then me. So he could not drive me for the night
but other then that there was no food problems. Just pool and drink LOL Big loush
Susan Sirois Danny

Deidri Cumbie said...

My family and friends understand and respect my wish that Duke be given treats only by me. Well, except for my Mom. She gave Duke a piece of candy when we visited her. He told on her by immediately running over to me, tail wagging, nuzzling me. I immediately knew that someone had given him a treat. Mom said that he "looked so pitiful when I ate a piece of candy, so I gave him one. It was only one, so it won't hurt him." Again, I explained that chocolate isn't good for him and that I prefer to be the one to give him a treat. She told me that Eddie (my previous guide) didn't tell on her the way Duke did *smile*. I occasionally give him a bite of apple or a baby carrott, but that's pretty much it. As we visited with family and friends, I didn't have Duke in harness, so he could visit. In spite of this, he led me as well as if he had his harness on and behaved in the same manner. Several commented on his "leash guiding" abilities. He is so awesome.