Preparing Your Pets For Holiday Company December 14 2017, 0 Comments

The holidays can be stressful for anyone. There's so much to plan, shop for, clean and cook. Make sure you think about your pets this holiday season, especially if you're planning to have guests over to your house. From your pet's point of view, guests are a break in the normal routine and can be seen as friends or trespassers. It's important to practice obedience and train your dog to listen to you in all situations.

Sit Command

Even if your dog generally does well with the sit command it is a good idea to practice the command in different situations. Take your dog to the front door and have them practice there. This is often where they will want to greet your guests and be most excited. Practicing sitting on command in those locations will help reinforce that they need to listen to you the day that your visitors arrive. 

Not Rushing To The Door

Many dog owners struggle with their dogs rushing to the door when they hear visitors arrive. This can be an issue if they get too excited or if your guests are afraid of dogs. To help avoid this happening, teach your dog they need to watch and listen to you.

To practice this with your dog, start by keeping some treats in your pocket. Say "watch me" or their name and give them a treat every time they make eye contact with you. Make sure you keep your verbal cues consistent. Once they are doing well with this, practice having different people come into the house. Have your helper knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Then, calmly walk to the door with your dog. If they start to run, use your "watch me" command and give them a treat when they stop and make eye contact. Start over if they start to rush.

Once you finally make it to the door, stop, put a leash on your dog and have them sit while you tell your helper to enter the house. If your dog stands up, have the helper shut the door and leave. Then start over. Your dog should learn that if they get excited when people enter the home, they will leave. Also - instruct your helper to remain calm and ignore the dog. This would only cause a distraction for the dog and your dog should be focusing on you. Once the helper can enter the house without the dog standing, give them a treat as a reward. Practice this several times with different helpers. 

Instructing Guests

Even if your guests say, "it's okay, I don't mind him jumping" make sure you do not allow it. Calming explain that you are trying to train your dog not to jump and your guests should be understanding. Do not allow your guests to let your dogs perform bad behaviors.

Giving Them a Break

It is okay to give your dog a break or time out in a back room or in their crate. Some people may look at his as punishment but it is sometimes necessary to give your dog time to calm down if they get too excited. Make sure you provide your dog with water and a bone or chew toy to keep them busy. Sometimes it can be overwhelming for a dog to be with guests for extended periods of time even if they are behaving. Giving them a break will help prevent problem behaviors.