Helping a Nervous Pup Keep Calm While You Celebrate On

The dog trainer is in to answer your questions. Alexandra Macias, CPDT-KA owner and operator of the Long Beach-based Alex Macias dog training, will be sitting down and answering readers’ pet-related questions.

Dear Alex,

My dog gets very high anxiety when we have guests over for the holidays. Can this be remedied?

– Jo

Hi Jo,

Having people over for that big holiday dinner can mean a lot of anxiety and stress for your dog. There are new people, loud noises and high energy levels. To help keep him calm, I suggest putting him in a crate while guests are over.  Contrary to popular belief, crates are not “doggie jail,” and can act like a den for dogs, making them feel safe and secure. I would put several long lasting toys in the crate to keep him occupied, and of course, make sure he has plenty of water.

If your dog is not the biggest fan of the crate, you may want to choose high value toys, and keep them strictly for crate use. My dog’s favorite crate treat is a Kong stuffed with canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), and then frozen. I freeze the Kong once it’s stuffed so it will last longer. By reserving these special, yummy toys for the crate, your dog will see the crate as something extra positive, which will help him adjust.

Hope you and your pup have a great holiday! WOOF!

-Alex

Alexandra (Alex) Macias, CPDT-KA, has been a certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist since 2008, and is the owner of Alex Macias Dog training, a Long Beach-based dog training company. To ask Alexandra questions for a future article, leave them in the comments below, or email her at  [email protected].

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