In The Company of Dogs

Tips for having a safe and happy holiday with guests and dogs.

During the holidays we often have company over who may or may not be “dog people.” This holiday season, help keep the peace with these useful tips to ensure both two-legged and four-legged family members have a good holiday.

1. Training refresher. Before the company gets to your house, remind your dog of his manners. Often, we teach our dog good manners and then, when we are home alone, we relax on the rules. Whether you have taught him in the past to not jump on company at the door, to sit while being petted, or to not get up on people’s laps, now is the time to remind him of his dog training.

2. New toys. There is nothing like a new toy to occupy a dog. Buy her a couple Christmas toys and break them out when the company comes. This is especially good for dogs with anxiety towards people because it gives them something to focus on other than the strangers in the room.

3. Treats. Treats can be a great way to get a nervous dog to accept a new person. Give your guests treats to feed your dog. This will also help avoid guests giving your dog food which may be harmful for them.

4. Barriers. If you have company coming that have allergies or are not fond of dogs, you may want to partition off your house so that your guests have a “dog free zone.” This can also come in handy when you want to sit down for your nice holiday dinner without a beggar underfoot. Baby and pet gates are perfect for this.

5. Post the rules. With so many new guests in the house, it will be easy for your dog to take advantage of the situation and get things he or she may not normally get, like sitting on the sofa, table scraps, etc. It can be a health hazard if, for example, your dog has allergies and your guests do not know it or they let the dog outside by himself. Posting the rules on the refrigerator so that everyone sees them, along with allergies and emergency vet contact information, will ensure a safe and happy holiday for everyone.

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