It’s holiday season and they are coming to your home: strangers, friends, and family alike. Whether your dog views guests as untrustworthy intruders or as their new best friend, it is important that you take preventative steps to ensure that you, your guests and your dogs stay safe.
It may have been years since your dog has seen some of those that will visit your home in the coming months, or perhaps they have never met them. How will your dog react to the sudden increase in activity and guests that the holidays bring? Sometimes adjusting to these events can be difficult for your dog, so our team has assembled a few tips to help reduce holiday stress for both your dog and your guests.
It is important that your dog has a basic grasp on how to mind his manners and how to follow your commands. Even if you are pressed for time, you can still fit in a few short training sessions every day, and you will be surprised at how fast Fido can improve. Working commands into your routine is another great way to improve your dog’s obedience and flexibility in obeying commands. For example, you can use the “stay” command while cooking in kitchen or work on the “sit” and “down” commands while in the living room. Practicing commands in the environments you will be using them when you have guests will also help hardwire your pet’s brain and help them be more inclined to follow commands even when there is the distraction of guests around. As always, be patient, be consistent, and be positive in your training to achieve amazing results.
Training may not be enough to keep your dog comfortable. If that is the case, you can focus your dog’s attention and energy in other areas to help keep him relaxed.
Keep your dog comfortable— If you know your dog doesn’t care for guests, have a crate ready for him in a quiet spot, such as bedroom with a closed door. Alternatively, keep him in a place where he can feel comfortable and not interact with guests, such as a bedroom, laundry room or other area that is closed off with a door or baby gate. Never allow people to interact with your dog if the dog isn’t comfortable, as this can increase the anxiety he is feeling.
Provide distractions— Have a variety of items ready for your dog, to occupy his time, while you visit with your guests. This can include food stuffed toys or puzzles, bones, chews, chew sticks and toys. Always give your dog an item such as this in a safe place and supervise any interaction if children will be visiting.
Exercise, exercise, exercise— You cannot exercise your dog enough during these busy times. As the saying goes, “A good dog is a tired dog.” The more physical exercise your dog gets, the less rambunctious when people come to visit, and there’s a good chance after greeting guests he’ll be more than happy to crawl up on his bed or crate and take a nap.
With these simple steps, your busy holiday season is sure to be less stressful for you and your precious pup. Happy holidays from your friends at TCAP, and here’s wishing you successful training sessions that result in a more relaxed, well-mannered pooch that all your friends and family will enjoy!