The holidays are pretty hectic for us, but we can’t forget about Fido! Having a variety of people coming in and out of the house can add some stress to your dog. Follow these tips below on how to keep your dog calm when guest come for the holidays.
Every dog is different so you will have to test the waters to see which of these options or even a combination of them work best for your dog. Dogs are like humans. They enjoy a routine, and they have no idea what is going on when we have a range of guest or multiple parties over the next few months.
Get Exercise In
A great way to keep your dog calm when guests arrive is earlier exercise. Make sure to take your dog to the dog park or for a nice long walk to wear them out a bit before guests arrive. Typically when you have guests come, you greet them with a lot of excitement, especially if you haven’t seen them for a long time. Well, your dog can pick up on that enthusiasm and get them excited or anxious. If you tire your pup out, they will have less energy to showcase when you have company over.
If you have a few days to work with your dog before company comes, do it. It is much easier to teach your dog what you expect of them in a controlled environment than it is in the heat of the moment.
Ask a friend to help you with this. Have your dog sit on their bed while your friend knocks or rings the doorbell. Focus on keeping the pup in their place and not running to greet each door ringer.
Have a jar of treat near the door to hand to your friend. If pup stays in his place until your friend can walk up to him, he gets the treat. If he is not able to, have your friend leave and start the process over again.
When teaching a new habit, always allow your dog an easy win a few times. Start close to the door and move further out when your pup understands what his mission is.
Just like I said above, your dog can sense your excitement. If he sees you jumping around and laughing or having a great time, it will naturally excite them. The best rule of thumb is to stay calm yourself. Set a good positive example for your dog to mimic.
If your gets extra excitable or anxious, you could always try some natural calming treats.
Distract your dog from the guest and give them their favorite chew toy or a toy that has treats filled inside. They have to work to get those treats out, hence distracting them for a while from the guest. Then once things calm down and guests settle in, your dog will really feel more relaxed overall.
If you find your dog is super excited and won’t calm down, consider a timeout. Put him in the crate or even in a separate room away from everyone. This will give your dog some time to relax, and de-stress. Make sure your dog sees you doing this in a calm, loving voice, so they know they are not in trouble. Over time this method can bring great success to training your pup.
Show Children How to Act
If you have small children over, make sure to show children what to do with the dog and what not to do. Try not to leave your dog alone with a child, if something may happen. Teach them not to scare your dog, or be rough, etc. I don’t like my ears being yanked and neither does your dog.
Be Careful About Food and Gifts
A big thing for me when we have company or go to visit others is food. Ryder has pretty bad food allergies. He is on a very strict diet. And that means no hooman foods. Let your guests know your ground rules with your dog. If he is not allowed treats, make it known. Your family will respect your wishes.
Make sure that all food is out of reach and gifts as well. Poinsettias are gorgeous but they are toxic to dogs, so keep them out of reach. The last thing you want is your dog getting into a gift or dessert and ending up sick at the vet.
Overall just do your best to keep your dog calm when guests arrive. Make sure exercise and distract your dog when you can. Make sure they have a quiet place to lay down if they don’t want to be bothered by guests. Also, don’t forget frequent potty breaks while you have guests over. This also helps hit the reset button on any stress from the overstimulation guests can bring.