Keeping Your Dog Relaxed Around Visitors
(Written by Georgia Hatton)
You may find visitors, both human and canine, of all ages at your house over the festive period. Set ground rules early for both parties to follow to keep all members of the household happy!
Whilst you may not mind an excited dog greeting you at the door, some visitors, especially the very old or young, may not appreciate it.
It’s not too late to start training now! A quick google search brings up a variety of sources for training manners around doors, but our favourite - free! - resource is the Kikopup YouTube channel.
Video from Kikopup to train good manners around the door -Door Manners for Dogs! - Dog Training
Plenty of owners allow their dogs onto the furniture, but when guests come around, space can be in short supply. Ensure your dog knows a solid “off” cue - knowing to get down from the furniture when asked. Always follow this up with a high value reward, so it becomes a pleasurable thing to do, and make sure a comfortable alternative is available
It’s hard to resist the appealing eyes of a dog sitting waiting for food from the table - but unless you want to continue this it’s best to ask your guests to refrain! Place your dog in a different room whilst you eat if they (or the humans!) are very persistent - and keep them occupied with a tasty chew of their own.
Children can be loud and unpredictable to dogs - especially if they aren’t used to each other. Make sure children know not to disturb your dog if they are eating or sleeping, and of course don’t leave them unsupervised together. If your dog is the sociable sort then going out for a walk together to burn off some energy is a great idea!
Some humans bring their dogs to the festivities - and this might need some planning!
If your dogs haven’t met before, going for a walk together on neutral ground is the best way to introduce them. Don’t go face to face, instead walk parallel to each other and slowly close the distance between them.
Back in the house, it’s good practice to remove high value objects - such as toys and food - to reduce the risk of fights breaking out, especially if the dogs aren’t used to sharing!
Make sure each dog has their own comfortable bed to rest on - as with children, make sure the dogs don’t disturb one another when they are sleeping.
Always be your dog's advocate. If they wouldn’t be happy with a canine guest in their house then ask that they don’t come.