How to Keep Your Dog Away from the Christmas Tree

Updated: December 11, 2018 at 11:14 am, Author: Alice

The holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without great Xmas gifts and festive decorations. The highlight of many homes at this time of year has to be the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, some of those beautiful ornaments can be dangerous for your dog to play with or eat.

The best way to ensure your family pet keeps safe and leaves the tree alone is to start training him or her early. It will be easier to have the tree bare with no attractive dangling temptations at first, as this will distract your dog while training is in progress. Once your dog has the basic commands down pat, then you can decorate the tree with their health and safety in mind.

Busset hound with presents under the Christmas tree

Basic Christmas Tree Dog Safety Tips

A pet-safe home starts with buying decorative items that will do your furry friends no harm. A real Christmas tree’s needles can prick your dog’s paws or skin. Artificial trees are more pet-friendly. Try to buy one that is matte green, as this will hold out the least fascination for your canine friend.

Bigger is not better when it comes to a dog-friendly Christmas tree. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, so if your dog accidentally knocks your tree over, make sure it is not heavy enough to cause damage.

Safety measures to curtail a dog’s natural curiosity will keep them safe this holiday season.

Presents and décor are highly appealing to a dog. One way to keep both gifts and dogs safe is to wait to put presents under the tree until early on Christmas morning. This will remove the temptation for both the dog and the children to play with these items.

Remember that breakable ornaments have shards that can badly cut your dog’s mouth, throat, and stomach. Keep your dog safe by placing ornaments towards the top of your Christmas tree. If your dog does manage to ingest something sharp, you can feed her a few cotton balls to protect her insides – but check with your vet first.

Christmas tree lights look lovely twinkling at a window at night. Your furry friend thinks so too. Because dogs don’t have hands, they learn about an object by placing it in their mouth. Electrical cords are best looped away out of reach to minimize the chance of your dog chewing it and possibly getting an electrical shock.

Wrapping the base of your Christmas tree in aluminum foil will deter even the most determined pets from exploring that corner; they hate the texture of it. The same can be said for placing double-sided tape or tacky mats at the base of your tree. These preventative measures will ensure that your pet sees this place as a no-go area to prevent them from drinking the tree water.

Methods to Train a Dog around the Tree

Always keep a bottle of water or bitter apple or citrus spray around to warn your dog that the tree is not for exploration. There are a few other techniques that can be used to train your pet to keep away from the Christmas tree.

  1. For first method, sit next to the tree with the dog’s favorite treats on hand. When the dog comes near the tree, say the word “away” and throw a treat in the direction away from the tree. If he returns to the area after the treat, get up and provide another distraction or activity.

Keep this routine up for a few days. The next stage is to say the word “away” without throwing a treat, but allowing the dog to accept the treat from your hand. Again provide alternate forms of distraction when he returns to the tree space. Soon, your dog will begin to recognize the command word of “away” in relation to the area around the tree.

  1. The second method to train your dog to stay away from the tree is to produce a negative association with the space. This is where having double-sided tape and tacky mats comes in handy. When your dog comes close to the tree, she will experience these unpleasant surfaces and associate them with the area.

No dog wants to be in a place where she has contact with unpleasant textures. You can add an extra level of repellant sensory stimulation by shaking a loud bell or a can filled with pennies. When your dog has moved away from the area, reward her with a treat.

  1. The third method that helps make your tree a no-go area for dogs is to use the “leave it” command, which many well-trained dogs already know. You can use these words to lure your dog away from the Christmas tree. Just make sure you always have a treat on hand in the beginning to reward the new behavior.

Now that you’ve learned how to keep your dog away from your Christmas tree, you can feel more at ease with your holiday decorations.  Enjoy your holiday season, and don’t forget to get your dog a Christmas gift like a chew toy, too, so it can participate in the fun!

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