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Holiday parties are right around the corner. They can be stressful for even the most well balanced dog. A once quiet house becomes a hub bub of new visitors, hugging, laughing, shouting and children running from room to room. These gatherings are fun for people but they can be very stressful for our four legged family members. CHR believes that providing a safe area away from these gatherings is one of the best ways to minimize stress for your dogs during the holiday season. To make this fun and share ideas, CHR is holding a competition for the best safe area.

Any CHR supporter can participate! Below, you will see CHR Director; Sabina, has come up with a great setup for her foster dog. The photo does not have to have a X-pen but should include the best chewies, beds and ideas to keep your pet busy and feeling safe while they are separated from you and your guests. We will reveal the winning setup in an upcoming CHR post for the Holidays. The winner gets a $15 Starbucks gift card! Email your photos to

Having a understanding of canine body language is the first step to understanding signs that your pet may be stressed during a holiday event.


If you see signs that your dog is stressed, you should be prepared to move him/her to a safe place in another part of your house. Below are just a few body signals to watch for in your pet this holiday season.

  • Barking at and retreating from a guest

  • Hiding behind a person or object

  • Going into another room away from people and urinating or defecating

  • Ears back and very rapid panting

  • Yawning when not tired

  • Licking chops without the presence of food

  • Wet dog shake when not wet or dirty

Additional reasons you may want to put your dog in a safe room

  • Dogs BEG for food with those big beautiful eyes. This behavior can be irritating to your guests.

  • They have a sensitive tummy and you KNOW your guest will slip them some dinner food.

  • They could slip through the front door when a guest enters the house. Nothing is worse than losing your dog.

By understanding a dog’s body language, you will be able to avoid putting too much added stress on your furry friend this holiday season. If you decide to keep your pet out among your guests during the festivities, having a safe room set up in advance will come in handy when your dog needs to get away from the stress of guests.


Providing a safe room to keep your dog can help reduce their stress during your holiday gatherings. We’re going to help you make the special room or penned area more inviting for your dog.

The plan is simple-

Practice early! If your pet is not used to being seperated in another room, start early by leaving your furbaby in the seperate room for say 5 minutes at a time with a super yummy chewy. The key is to make the food Items more inviting than you. Place in the area a comfortable bed, toys, water bowl and pee pads which will make the chosen area more inviting and comfortable for your pet.

Below is an example of how to make the safe area inviting and more likely to keep your pet occupied while you enjoy your guests.

  • Add a chew toy, stuffed kong or bully stick to keep your pet busy.

Adding a yummy chew treat for your pet to enjoy while being kept separated will help them forget about all the festivities going on without them.

NOTE: The chew toys should be given in the safe room not while in the room with the guest. If you decide to give your dog a bully stick or stuffed kong, please understand that many dogs can guard items like this. If young children are visiting, we caution you against giving your dog a high-value item such as a kong or bully stick while in the presence of strangers and children to avoid snapping and guarding behaviors. Safety always comes first!

  • Don’t forget music!

To help drown out the noise from your party, play some light classical music or have a sound machine playing in the safe room. This will drown out the noise of your guests and lessen your dog’s stress.

Having a safe room to place your dog is an effective way of keeping them safe during busy holiday events. Prepare the space in advance so it’s ready when needed. We included an X-pen (doggie play yard) because it offers so much more than a regular crate does but you don’t have to use any pen at all if your dog does not damage your stuff. The goal is to provide a stress-free space so you AND your dog can enjoy the holiday festivities! We wish you all a wonderful holiday season!

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