There are many new things that appear around the festive season and I know some dogs can get a bit confused about the best ways to behave, so here are my festive tips for fun-loving pooches to get the best out of the season…
Trees: People often bring a tree into the house at this time of year. The reason for this is that it is very cold outside and frosty ground can freeze the balls off your pads, so an indoor pee-stick is just the job. Don’t ignore their kindness and aim as high up the branches as you can – it’s what trees are for.
Presents: These are the things that sometimes appear under the tree, wrapped in shiny paper. They are for sharing. People don’t seem to be able to tell what is inside of them without ripping the paper off, so although we know which ones contain chocolates by the smell, make sure you also rip the paper off – it’s traditional. People think that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, so to prevent upsetting them, make sure you eat as many as you can during the night when they are asleep. Any I don’t manage I try to leave teeth-marks in so they know which are the hard centres.
Veterinary visits: If you do manage a whole box of chocs, try to do that in the very early hours of Christmas Day itself. This means that you get to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to your favourite Vet later that day, when they will most appreciate opening the surgery especially for you.
Little People: (not leprechauns, children) These often wake up very early on Christmas Day (just as you are finishing off the chocs). Their parents are often too tired to get up and try to make them go back to sleep. You can encourage them to join in the fun by barking and scratching at the door to go out (Depending upon the exact timing of the chocs you might actually need to). There’s nothing quite like a blast of cold air up their nightie to wake a human up for festive fun.
Little People 2 (not a remake of ‘leprechauns’, but children again) During the festive season Big People often do not keep their usual close eye on littler ones, and this is a good opportunity for us to care for them. They can frequently be observed carrying around portable food, such as sausage rolls or cake, in their hands. They clearly do not want this food as if they did it would be in their mouth, not their hands. We can help by following them around until it either falls or is put down somewhere, after which we can dispose of it for them. Occasionally you can persuade a Little Person to feed you by the judicious use of big brown eyes and a lolling tongue, or just remove the unwanted scoff from their hands when they are not looking (ones glued to the TV are particularly susceptible). Oh, and they shed crisps like manna from heaven.
Presents 2: Not chocs this time, but the dog-awful presents bought especially for pets. Idiot antlers that make you look stupid and worse still, ‘Christmas jumpers’. Chew them up at the earliest opportunity. The cat is laughing at you. There are some presents that are well-meant, such as dog-chews and tasty treats. Do NOT eat them. There are plenty of treats to be had from people of all sizes already: turkey, cheese, roast potatoes, pigs-in-blankets. The people will not eat the dog-treats, but may finish off the Christmas dinner if you are too full. The dog-treats will still be there in dry-January, when they will be the only ones on offer (I refuse to share slimming-biscuits with humans).
Turkey: This meat is poisonous to people – it sends them into a coma for the whole afternoon after consuming it. It is our duty to eat as much of it as possible to save them. There are several ways. The first is to try before it is cooked. Often people leave it out in the open to defrost. This is an ideal time to help yourself. If you fail or are outwitted, try again after it has been cooked and left aside to rest (check under tea-towels on top of work surfaces – track it down – you have the nose for it).
Turkey 2: Not just the roast bird of course, but all the tasty human food going begging. Literally. Without demeaning yourself it is very easy to coax yummy scoff from an over-full human. Sit by the table and drool. If it works with one, do not keep going but change to another person, conning consecutive people is easier than repeatedly conning one (unless you hit the jackpot with a ‘baby’, who can be an endless source whilst no one else is looking – sit under the high chair).
Dog food: Like treats, do NOT eat it for the duration. There’s better stuff about and there’s always left-overs. If they insist on putting the good stuff in your bowl, scoff it as fast as you can and then sit beside it and look hungry. Again, it will work better with consecutive people. I’ve managed to persuade three different people that I hadn’t been fed in a fifteen minute period, just by sitting next to an empty bowl, with big brown eyes.
Sick: Understandably, with all that rich food, there is an even higher than normal chance of the canine chunder. For people, especially those who are snoozing, this can be a source of great excitement. If you are a small enough dog to manage it on an actual knee, so much the better. If not, aim for an expensive carpet rather than a cleanable surface. Listen to them squeal with delight! They may try to collect it for themselves (who wouldn’t?) but gobble it back down again if you can – waste not want not! And remember it is only polite to show your appreciation by licking their faces immediately afterwards.
Snow: This is the time of year when everyone hopes it will snow. If it shows any signs of snowing at all, try to get as many poops in the garden as you can. Once it snows on top the people won’t be able to see them (and they certainly can’t smell them!) and will make the most fragrant snowmen. No need to worry about your territory when a six-foot snowman that smells of your poop is guarding it!
TED! WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THAT COMPUTER?
Oops, the tall loud one’s caught me. Better go… maybe catch you in the New Year sometime – Merry Christmas to all my doggy mates! Now then, press, ‘send’…