Tips for Handling Puppies During the Holidays

December 1st, 2021

Having a new puppy during the holiday season can be wonderful – and a lot of work. Cold, wet weather means a lot more inside time and fewer opportunities to meet other dogs on walks or at the dog park. Be prepared to get creative – and a little wet – while training and socializing your puppy in winter weather. Happy Hound Play & Daycare in Oakland, CA, offers puppy-only social hours and professional puppy training to help ensure those first few months lead to a long lifetime of obedience and happiness.

Puppy Training

The first 5-6 months of your puppy’s life with you are crucial to building good habits and getting proper training. At this young age, puppies are a sponge. They will absorb everything they learn, good and bad. Now is when your new pet will learn boundaries, meet others, encounter new situations and teethe. Start teaching basic commands, using a leash and enforcing good behaviors like staying off the couch. Do not let them use your hands as chew toys! Once they grow up, those cute nibbles can turn into painful biting.

Often, you may need a bit of help to train a rambunctious puppy. Happy Hound offers specialized training just for young pups. The Beginner’s Training Class is a 4-week class designed to teach you and your puppy how to be a team. You will learn the essentials in good manners, basic commands like sit/stay, come, and how to heel on a leash. You’ll also have the chance to learn fun tricks, great for showing off at the dog park.


A Note on Winter Potty Training

Potty training can be one of the trickier parts of owning a puppy and is made more difficult when the weather outside is not inviting. When it is raining, snowy or extremely cold, your dog may not want to step paw outside. While dogs have a natural instinct to keep their territory sanitary, a few feet from their bed or bowl gets considered far enough. So, you will need to acclimate them (and yourself) to doing their business outside. Go out with your puppy when it’s time for a potty break. Putting them out on their own can be confusing or scary and may not lead to any business getting done. For extreme weather, stock up on potty pads and designate an indoor area where they can relieve themselves without damaging your floors or furniture.


Puppy Socialization

As many veterinary workers will tell you after working with quarantine puppies, early socialization is key to raising a dog that gets along well with others and reduces potential behavioral issues. In warmer seasons, it is easy to take your dog on a walk and meet others along the way. Congregating at the dog park exposes them to tons of other dogs. But during the winter months, more people are indoors, and bumping into other dogs becomes less likely. It is crucial to make an effort to bring your pup out and about with you, whenever possible. 

  • If you have a dog-friendly workplace, bring them into the office.
  • While they are small, bring them with you wherever dogs are allowed. 
  • Ask friends if you can bring your puppy to visit, especially if they have other pets. 

The holidays can be a fun way for your new pet to meet many new people. But keep an eye on them in case they get overwhelmed or fearful. Create a safe space for them to take a break from socializing.

Luckily, Happy Hound hosts indoor Puppy Socials. It’s like happy hour for your puppy! Join other new dog owners for a 45-minute session where your pup can play, sniff and meet other dogs and humans. Held in the Puppy Park – a playcare area just for dogs under 4 months – Puppy Socials offer supervised playtime where they can burn off some of that excess energy and learn how to get along with other dogs. You might even meet some fellow puppy owners to socialize with in a different setting!

Puppy Care

Puppies will get into things. It is just a fact. Whether they jumped in a mud puddle, had an accident, got too curious in the kitchen or just will not let you trim their nails, keeping your pet groomed is essential for their hygiene – and your sanity. The Bark & Howl Day Spa at Happy Hound offers puppy-oriented grooming services to keep them clean, trimmed and looking their best. Visit us for everything from baths and hair cuts to nail trims and de-matting.

Puppy DayCare

When everyone is at work or school, you may not want to leave your puppy home unattended. Happy Hound Dog Daycare in Oakland, CA, features a separate Puppy Park just for the youngest pups. They get to enjoy enriching play structures and toys, get some necessary socialization time, and you get to know they are safe under the watchful eyes of our professional team. Ask us about overnight boarding if you are headed out of town and can’t bring your puppy. 

***Holidays book up fast, so plan ahead to ensure you can find boarding for your dog when you need it.***


Should I Gift a Puppy?

If you are thinking about a puppy for a holiday gift, make sure you have really considered everything dog ownership entails.

  • Will this breed will work with their lifestyle?
  • Are they prepared to care for the dog for 12-15 years?
  • Is the busy holiday season the right time to add an active puppy to the mix? 

Another option is to gift your loved one with a certificate to pick out their puppy after the holidays or wrap dog bowls, toys and treats to give to their future dog. They will get the chance to find the dog they feel a bond with and have time to read up on puppy training and dog ownership. 

While you can make it work, adding a puppy to the family at holiday time presents a unique set of challenges that need to get considered. Make sure you and the new puppy parent are prepared to train, socialize and potty train the newest member of the family in cold weather and during a busy, event-filled period. With a bit of planning and commitment, you can surprise your loved one with a furry bundle of joy that will remain a welcome addition to the family.


Happy Hound in Oakland, California, is your local spot for puppy services! From daycare and boarding to training and socializing, you and your new best friend can get the tools needed to create a lasting bond and ensure a happy, healthy future for all of you. Check out our puppy services at Happy Hound online, or give us a call with any questions you may have. Happy Holidays and congratulations on your newest family member!