The Day After
The hallway to my office is littered with toys, someone peeking in the window might think this is a house full of toddlers. Those in the know will notice that all of the stuffed toys have a distinct tag. They’ll notice the high ratio of balls, and the Nylabones sticking out from under the furniture. Those bones are like magnets to the lowest sitting furniture in the house. This is the day after Christmas with dogs. With a large pack like ours.
Tomorrow half of the toys will be put away, to be swapped out every other week. We’ll dig the bones and balls out from under the furniture and return them to the toy basket. Where they will last about 2 minutes until someone drags them out again. We’ll sweep up the dog hair, it’s been two day now, and it’s really piling up. But for today, we’ll watch the dogs play. We’ll watch them steal the toys from each other, snuggle in their new beds and blankets. And we’ll listen to the incessant squeaks from the squeaky toys all day, without break.
Christmas went well, the tree is still standing, the other decorations are intact. No one was poisoned, or injured, or sick. The humans are still speaking to the dogs, the dogs are still happy with the humans. Yes, Christmas with dogs this year went well.
Preparation for Christmas with Dogs
It did take lots of preparation, and planning. Training took some time, but it was well worth it. The first step is always introducing the foster dogs, and/or new dogs to the decorations. Letting them know what it’s okay to play with, and what isn’t.
Any new humans that will be around, first of all need to be dog friendly. They also need to know what is dangerous for the dogs, and where to put anything that isn’t dog safe, to keep it from potential counter surfing contenders. A list is kept by the back door as to which dogs need which collars, or to be attached to the dog run, or sweaters and boots. Guests have to be informed of which dogs can’t be around people or certain other dogs.
A big sign is put over the bowl of specially baked dog Christmas cookies. Although they are human safe, they tend to be a little bland without all of the sugar. The dogs love them though, especially the pumpkin ones.
Dogs and Presents
Any presents brought for the dogs are unwrapped before hand. We don’t let the dogs open presents. It sets a bad precedent. Teaching your dog to open presents, is not a good thing. Doing so leads them to believe that all presents are for them to open, and it’s open season on any presents that are inadvertently left anywhere they can get to them. If they think there is a shiny new toy for them behind the pretty paper, they’re going to rip into it. This is what you taught them.
Instead of wrapping the presents for the dogs, we lay a few in each dog bed around the house. Once they notice new toys in one bed, they love to run around and see what is in the others, before deciding on a toy to play with.
But with a little planning, Christmas with dogs can be successfully executed, and a great time can be had by all.
Some of our dogs favorites: