How to Ensure a Peaceful Christmas – Even With Dogs and Children!

Christmas is fast approaching, bringing with it the annual visits to friends and family, and while this is fun for us it can be distressing for pets. It goes without saying that we are polite to our hosts at Christmas, but it’s easy to forget that it’s their pets’ home too.

Children who aren’t used to being around dogs at home can become overexcited causing dogs to become nervous and agitated, so it’s important to ensure that children know how to behave around animals and not cause them any anxiety which could result in distressing incidents or even bites.

Leading canine behaviour expert, Jez Rose of The Behaviour Company (, has put together some tips to help parents ensure their children know how to behave towards dogs in order to help prevent accidents.

Jez explains:

‘When lots of strangers come into a dog’s home, or territory, it’s easy for the dog to get distressed and nervous. It’s through carefully controlled body movements and posturing, that dogs communicate their mood and intent. The excitement of Christmas will probably mean both the dog and child are behaving erratically so it’s important that children are aware of how to act around dogs, and understand dogs’ behaviour to help make sure there are no misunderstandings.’

Jez advises:

  • Never put your face near a dogs face
  • Be quiet and walk slowly. Dogs get scared of loud noises and fast movements
  • Always wait for a dog to come to you. If they want to be stroked or play, they will ask!
  • Never disturb dogs when they are sleeping
  • Never go up to a dog when they are eating
  • Never go up to or touch a dog you don’t know
  • Dogs growl when they are angry or scared. Fold your arms and walk away slowly
  • Parents: Never leave children and dogs unattended, no matter how well you know the dog.

For more information and advice about dog behaviour, please visit:

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