Hosting a holiday gathering? If you are one, in the over 63 million Americans who own a dog, then you have more to think about than what food or drinks you will be serving. To help, we have outlined seven tips to help manage your dog and guests.
It is important to remember that dogs run on energy and routine. They may not understand exactly what is going on but they can feel the excitement and/or stress of hosting for the holidays.
“Calm assertive energy is the energy you project to show your dog you are the Pack Leader. Assertive does not mean angry or aggressive. Calm-assertive means always compassionate, but quietly in control.” – Cesar Millan
1.) Let the guests know. Make sure family and friends coming over are aware that you have a dog(s). This allows your guests to be prepared with allergy medication incase of flare ups.
Even if there aren’t allergies, guests may opt for different attire knowing there are going to be pets.
Tip: If your dog does shed, have a lint roller on hand to offer when guests are leave.
2.) Mind your manners Even the most well-behaved and trained dogs can succumb to the excitement of having guests over. Do some practice runs by ringing the doorbell or having someone stop by. Show your dog how to properly great guests with your own energy and body language.
If your dog isn’t as consistent with basic commands then start brushing up on those now, it is never too late.
3.) Exercise. A tired dog is a good dog! Make sure to wear your pup out the day of the party. With that said, if your pup is BIG on routine, he/she may still demand their 5pm walk regardless. Make an effort for that to happen for them, even if that means hiring a dog walker.
4.) Safe space: Some dogs just can’t handle a lot of excitement. In this case, have a designated room or your pups favorite spot set up with food, water and their favorite toy. Play some music or a t.v. in the room to distract them.
5.) Set the tone As hard as it is to hold back excitement of seeing family and friends that you haven’t seen since 2019, make sure to remain calm to avoid further exciting your dog in an already VERY exciting situation.
6.) Introduction Be sure to properly introduce your dog to family and friends as they arrive. Even if you plan on using the designated room it is important for your dog to meet everyone and see that you have welcomed them into the home. This will reduce stress on your pet of not understanding what all the commotion is while they are locked up.
Keep him/her from jumping or barking during introduction by remaining calm, yourself. Have the guest put their hand out for your dog to sniff and welcome your guests to praise your pup. Let guests know they are welcome to enforce the rules with your dog if they need to.
Tip: Watch your guests behavior, if they seem frightened by the dog, keep them separated.
7.) Food for thought. Remember routine? Feed your pet at his/her usual time or a little before and plan for guests to eat after that. Dogs are less likely to beg for scraps if they are full. However, if you have a pet that can just never get enough, you may need to separate them though dinner.
Keep food out of reach for the dogs who just can’t help themselves.
Tip: offer your guests to wash their hand or use hand sanitizer before dinner.
With this, keep in mind that nobody knows your dog like you! Take these tips and modify according to your dog’s personality. If you have a super skittish dog who you know would do better in their “safe space” alone through the entire party, do that. Or find a pet sitter for the night. If you have a mellow, social butterfly who can sit and enjoy the party with manners, have them attend. Do what is best for you and your pet. But remember energy and routine are key. Do not stress, even the most imperfect events are always the most memorable!