The last two months of the year are full of holidays from Diwali to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas to Kwanzaa, and many more. Happy Holidays, indeed! Having people over for celebrations and parties can be stressful for you in dealing with everything that comes with hosting and for your dog to have all these new people in their home. You want to ensure your dog is equipped to handle all your guests. Here are some ways you can help your dog prepare for holiday guests.
Your dog’s manners are always essential, especially when you plan to have people over. You don’t want your guests to be bothered by your dog jumping up on them or being overly excitable. You also don’t want your dog going after human treats or trinkets. Reinforcing basic manners and commands is an excellent way to prepare your dog for visitors.
Emphasizing the importance of “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it/drop it” will set your dog up for success. You want your dog to know they’re doing something right when you give them a command, so positive reinforcement will make them realize what you asked them to do is good and make them more inclined to listen.
Dogs vary in their tolerance for interaction. It's not just crucial for your dog to behave around guests; your guests should also respect the dog’s boundaries. If your friends and family aren't dog-savvy, they may not realize when their actions upset your pup. By setting boundaries, you can help your dog feel more at ease. Then, your visitors will know when to give your furry friend space and understand what interactions are okay.
Dogs can get overwhelmed by having guests over, especially if you have a quiet, introverted pup. Make sure you give your dog a quiet space they can retreat to if needed. You can prepare their crate in a bedroom or some other space with a closed door and supply them with toys, treats, and calming music to keep them occupied. You may also consider putting a sign on the door telling your guests not to disturb so that your pup’s quiet spot is safe and guests don’t mistake the closed door for a bathroom.
Having toys, puzzles, chews, and food-stuffed toys on hand can help your dog stay occupied while you are visiting with your guests and also provide a way to bond if your dog and your guests are comfortable with it.
The more pent-up energy your puppy has, the more raucous it will likely be when your doorbell starts ringing. Taking your dog on a walk is a great way to help your dog prepare for holiday guests. It will help burn off that excess energy, as can playing with them and mental stimulation, like sniffing attractive new spaces. Other strategies include playtime and mental stimulation, like exploring new areas. Regular physical activity generally keeps a dog happier. So, keeping your pup active during the holidays will maintain happiness and health and help manage the holiday bustle with ease.
Having guests over means lots of knocking at your door and people your dog isn’t familiar with. To prepare your dog, it’s best to practice so they are used to the noises on the day of your event. You can do this by having a friend or family member knock on your door and reiterating sit and stay commands with increasing frequency until knocks at your door no longer cause your dog to go crazy. Making knocking noises until your dog realizes that that isn’t a sound to get excited over will make when your guests arrive much more manageable.
The more you practice people arriving and commands to control your dog before you have people over, the smoother the experience will go. This will work not just to prepare your dog but also you so that you notice what your dog is up to and are prepared to intervene whenever necessary.
Though the holidays are busy, your dog still needs their routine. They still need time, love, attention, and exercise. You may consider delegating if you find it challenging to do everything you need while ensuring your dog gets everything they need. You may hire a grocery delivery service to get your puppy’s walk-in or ask a dog walker to come while you prepare your home.
The holidays are a crazy time, but your dog still needs that stability in their life, and you must find ways to give it to them.
For more information about how to prepare your furbaby for holiday guests, contact us at Little Teton Doodles today! We’ll happily share additional tips and tricks to make the holidays happy and bright for you, your pup, and your guests.