The day is drawing near, for many it is the dreaded day of putting up the tree. Although some of you may already have your tree up already. Trees are being erected only to be torn down or dismantled by the canine helper in the house. I know that many of you will only put decorations from out of reach and up, others have gates around the tree or forgo the whole tree thing completely. Don't despair, you are not alone. There is a way around this and you can have your beautiful tree with decorations from top to bottom. It is work, nothing is free but it's worth every second and no training is ever a waste.
So basically what you are going to do is to do a giant "leave it." "See this tree, decorations, water under the tree and the skirt?" "You can't touch any of it." Bottom line. It really helps if you keep your pooch around for the decorating, this gives you a chance to start right from the beginning. As you pull out the decs, put the tree up etc. no touching!!!!!! Tell them to "leave it" and mean it. If they back off in the least, reward them. The biggy is rewarding them for not touching the tree. This can take the form of food treats or their own toys and stuff to play with.
A new toy can help to keep a pooch's mind where it should be.
I cannot say how extremely important it is to reward them for not touching the tree. Perhaps put a bed in the room with the tree and have them go there and play with some toys. You can use a down stay as well as the "leave it." Don't just reward them everytime you have to shoosh them away, best to reward a good behavior rather than a corrected behavior. In other words, catch them doing it right. Don't be cheap, treat them like crazy, it is a big deal that they are not single pawedly destroying your tree. Afterall; why shouldn't they wreck the tree? You need to give them a reason not to, because wrecking the tree would actually be a great deal of fun for them.
I would highly recommend not chancing leaving them alone with the tree until you are 99% sort of sure. With dogs there is never a true 100% sure. After years of living with dogs you learn to never say "totally" or "100%." By allowing your dog to spend time near the tree you take away the mystic of it all. If you keep them away from it entirely in hopes of saving your beautiful tree and decorations, then there is a better chance that if they get to it, it won't last long.
Go ahead and put up that tree, dogs and Christmas trees can co-exist nicely, really.