Better Mind, Better Manners
No Place Like Home
How to manage your dog with house guests; one of those situations you never really think about until the madness is already happening. And on top of that, how do you manage your dog when you ARE the house guest?
The ideal situation of course, is that everything goes smoothly and everyone has a place to go. But let’s face it, the majority of the time the scene ends up looking like Home Alone where everyone is running around chaotically, things are getting spilled, and someone is missing a suitcase.
You’ve just pulled up to your family’s home for the holidays and everyone is unloading the car, trying to get inside. You want to give hugs, say hello, figure out what’s been happening over all the time you’ve been apart, right? But…what do you do with your dog?
Whether you’re the arriving guest or expecting guests, you want to make sure you know where your pup is and what they’re doing at all times. In other words, you’re going to need to treat your dog like a kid.
If they’re one of the bunch or your only child (fur parents count too), your goal is to have a dog who minds their manners through the commotion. You don’t want them darting from the car or the door, jumping up on anyone, stealing food or objects being carried inside. It’s just…a lot. So how would you accomplish that?
On Leash Training
The key with this training is having your dog on leash throughout the entire day. It’s best to do this right away and continue to do so throughout the first few days of having guests (or being a guest). Training in preparation for the holidays, meaning weeks in advance, would also be really beneficial. This allows your pup the time to adjust their mindset in knowing what is and isn’t acceptable.
The leash becomes an easy point of correction for you and you want to make sure anywhere you go, they go. “That’s enough” is a great command to use when they’re going a little too far. Too jumpy, too nippy, whatever the situation may be. This will be an easier task with a partner and/or a reliable kiddo that you can tag team with throughout the day.
You can also use their crate as a safe space for your dog as all the chaos unfolds. For the sake of your sanity, your dog’s sanity, and your guest’s sanity…putting your pup in their crate for a few hours if they aren’t willing to accept, “that’s enough,” will allow them time to wind down while everyone gets settled.
They need to be as relaxed as possible while their mind processes the new sights and smells of new human friends coming over, as it can obviously be overwhelming. But they also need to know that they can’t go around knocking down the little kids or jumping on Grandma. Boundaries need to be made and held accountable.
Remember, no matter which option you choose, or even a combo of both, when you see that good behavior…PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE! Lean into your dog’s Love Language here. Treats, physical touch, words of affirmation – those small things go a long way in changing your dog’s mindset.
Knowing Your House Guests
So we’ve touched on the topic: how to manage your dog with house guests. What about, how to manage your house guests with your dog?
Purely opinion, but there are three types of people in this world. Those who:
– Absolutely LOVE dogs.
– Simply just tolerate them.
– Are NOT dog people. At all. Whatsoever.
It’s important to know which of these categories your guests fall in. It’ll be your job to set the tone for the duration of your or your guests’ stay. You may have guests who love engaging with your dog(s), maybe even get down on the floor and play or wrestle with them. That would be a perfect opportunity for you to allow your dog to play, if you feel comfortable with that scenario and while they are on leash. In this case, you’ll be able to see if they stay in a calm play manner or if they get rambunctious and you need to set boundaries. Back to the leash, a quick way to correct if things get out of hand.
On the other hand, some folks may not even want to be around your dog at all. Or a simple pat on the head and a “shoo” will do. You want guests to treat your dog well, as you likely would as a guest treating someone else’s dog well. Again, keeping that leash handy and on all day is going to give you the opportunity to direct your pup away from individuals who aren’t so fond of them and eventually your dog will get the hint.
The holidays are constantly hectic, even if you have a small family or everyone you visit is local. And when it comes to travelling, the stress that surrounds the season is inevitable. Getting ahead of the game and using these training tactics with your pup during visits to family and friends, or even practicing them beforehand, will alleviate a lot of that added stress. If you take a little extra time to work on your dogs manners, we can assure you that your holiday season MAY just go off without a hitch. 😉
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