It’s Thanksgiving Day. You have just removed the 20 lb. turkey from the oven, the bread rolls are warming, and the doorbell rings. Greetings! Your Aunt Betty has arrived and you haven’t seen her since last Thanksgiving. You both get caught up in a brief conversation about the years events when you hear a crash in the kitchen. Cooper, your Golden Retriever, is happily enjoying the turkey he pulled from the counter. Pure bliss. He will not forget this moment and, in this one instance, your dog has learned that it is possible to find such an amazing reward on the counter.
Be prepared this holiday season. If you let your dog have too much freedom during the festivities, your dog will quickly learn that when people are distracted there are opportunities. If you are going to be distracted with cooking and guests, nest your dog in his or her crate or quiet space before company arrives. Then, when you can concentrate on teaching your dog, prepare your dog for good manners. Put a leash on your dog and have a reward ready to help facilitate training. This will set your dog up for success and allow for more freedom in the future. Bring out the best in your dog!