The Holiday season is upon us, and if you have a Great Dane or especially a puppy, you may be worried about how to dog proof your Christmas tree.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of Fido knocking over my beautiful decorations (and no doubt crushing some ornaments in the process) does NOT appeal to me!!! It is rather odd that we bring live trees into our home. They look beautiful to us, but to our dog, they smell interesting and look like something that needs to be peed on, chewed on, or destroyed.
So what is a Great Dane dog owner like yourself to do? Read this article, of course! We’re Dane owners, and we’ve totally been here. Let’s puppy-proof YOUR Christmas!
- Our favorite training tips to keep the puppy away from the Christmas tree
- Holiday decor alternatives that are safe for dogs
- Management techniques to prevent your puppy from knocking the Christmas Tree over!
Get Creative with your Christmas Tree
Sometimes, you really just don’t want to deal with keeping your dog away from the Holiday tree! That is understandable.
Thankfully, some incredible people have come up with a few smart dog and kid-safe Christmas tree ideas that remove the problem while still being festive and fun!
For example, this 5ft tall flat LED Christmas Tree wall decoration take the place of a pine tree, and still looks very intentional and beautiful!
(Purchase on Amazon HERE)
Check out this peel & stick Christmas Tree that can safely be used on almost any wall! Use this instead of a 3D Christmas tree if you are tight on space, don’t have time for the mess, or just need to not stress about your dog causing trouble.
Block the Christmas Tree
Sometimes, the best and easiest way to keep your dog away from the Christmas tree is to literally build a fence around it.
We’ve heard through the grapevine that Great Dane owners have tried everything from blocking it with vacuum cleaners (oooh, scary!) to surrounding it with chairs.
A much better solution is available that can also be used for a million other things, too (like keeping your Great Dane out of the kitchen!).
Enter the Amazon Basics Dog Pet System, which is 42″ tall (get the largest size!) and can be placed around your Christmas tree to keep your dog from well…making a mess.
This solution is especially great for dogs that like to knock things over, unwrap presents, and remove ornaments from the tree, too!
Train Your Dog to Leave the Christmas Tree Alone
Of course, all of the above solutions might take away from the Holiday magic of a beautiful tree and decorations in your home.
Enter…training. I know, I know – this one does take a little bit of effort but it’s well worth it!
There are two commands that help with keeping dogs away from the Christmas tree (and the Christmas cookies, and the presents…).
Those two commands are:
First, you are going to teach your Great Dane “LEAVE IT”, ideally before the tree comes into your home.
How to Teach “LEAVE-IT” to Great Danes
Hold 3-4 high-value treats in your hand. Allow your dog to sniff your hand but NOT to access the treats. As soon as your dog gets annoyed and moves its nose away from your hand, say “YES” and offer a treat (not from your hand, from a treat pouch).
Now, open your hand with the treats in it, and as soon as your dog lunges to grab them, snap your hand shut.
Wait, once again, for your dog to turn its head away from your hand, then mark with a “YES” and reward the behavior with a treat.
Repeat this process until your dog figures out (usually pretty quickly) that they are rewarded when the leave the treats in your hand (even when your hand is open)!
With practice, you can begin to say “LEAVE IT” and your dog will immediately look you, instead, because “Leave it” and ignoring high-value things results in treats and praise! Start teaching this behavior NOW so that you can apply it to the Christmas Tree.
Here is a great Youtube video on how to teach a dog to Leave It. Kikopup is a fantastic dog trainer and one to follow! You can follow Kikopup HERE.
How to Teach “PLACE” to a Great Dane
Now that you can ask your dog to “LEAVE IT” when they approach the tree, you can also install a fail-proof system where your dog lays down on a mat and doesn’t get up until you tell them that they can.
I believe that all Great Danes should know the “PLACE” command. This way, your dog isn’t bugging the tree when you aren’t there to supervise.
Here is a great video from Kikopup on how to teach the “PLACE” or “BED” command.
How to Stop a Dog from Peeing on the Christmas Tree
Of course, you can do all of these things and still have problems with a dog that wants to pee on the Christmas tree.
The STOP MARKING spray from Skout’s Honor is a natural solution that, when paired with training, management, and perhaps even belly bands can keep your dog from marking its territory.
(Some people have asked, and yes, dogs will mark artificial Christmas trees as well, not just real ones!)
These Christmas-themed dog Belly Bands come in Great Dane sizes, are washable, and can make marking less satisfying for your male dog, too.
How to Puppy Proof your Christmas Tree
Puppies are, of course, a whole other ballgame.
All of the above solutions will be helpful, with one major additional pro tip.
Allow your puppy to sniff and explore the tree, but make sure that having it in the home is no big deal and seems like just part of your routine! When you lead your young and impressionable puppy this way, they may learn that the tree is just another thing in the environment to ignore.
Puppies are, however, curious and tenacious creatures and in some ways, the Christmas tree may be unsafe for them! They can knock it over or take ornaments off the bottom that are dangerous for them.
You can always make it a point to only decorate the top half of your tree! This way, your puppy cannot grab any ornaments and run. Always supervise your puppy around the Christmas tree!
What other solutions have you found to dog-proof your Christmas tree?