Oh, the joys of celebrating and amazing food with your family and friends. Entertaining guests is exciting. But, can be stressful, even without a bouncy dog to think about. If you plan to include your dog in dinnertime festivities, here are a few tidbits to make the event enjoyable for you and him.
1. Give your dog extra exercise. I completely understand the lack of sleep that occurs when preparing home, meal and yourself for guests. But if your dog has had an extra long walk or played some training games; he will be less interested in what the humans are doing. Anxious dogs will be grateful for the mental release and young dogs will be bouncing around A LOT less.
2. Dog like to jump at the door? Leash your dog and reward for not jumping as guests come in. It is truly unfair to expect a dog who MAY practice good greetings once or twice a week with one person to do a perfect “sit/stay” as lots of new people enter with delicious food. If your dog has shown ANY signs of territorial aggression, please contact us for specific tactics for your dog. The leash trick at the door is only meant for silly jumpers; not serious behavioral issues.
3. Plan for an extra special bone or fill a Kong with their food during human dinner. Let’s face it, many of us eat in front of the TV or while doing other things. Life is uber busy! If your dog has not had opportunities to practice “down” and “stay” while multiple people are eating and socializing; he will fail miserably and everyone will be frustrated. Save his meals, fill up his Kong and give an extra special bone during the meal so he is less interested in your meal. Whatever you put in the Kong has to compete with whatever foodie goodness your family likes to dish out. If you have a dog who has ever growled over a bone, keeping him in a room or a crate will keep everyone safe as they get up for second helpings. After the event, make a plan to teach your dog that no one is going to steal his bone.
4. Big events are not the time to prove to your dog people are not scary. If you have a shy dog or one who is afraid of children or people, do not let people corner your dog. No matter how much your Uncle Ned loves dogs, him continuing to approach your dog if your dog is retreating only reinforces that people are intimidating. Set aside time to work on thoughtful introductions after the dinner party hub bub is over.
Dogs are part of the family and with a few easy steps (and an after event training plan), they will be more fun for you AND your dog!