Simple Tips For a Well-Behaved Dog When the Family Comes Over for Christmas
The holidays mean you will probably have more company in your house than you’ve had all year, possibly all at once! Pair that with a couple years of no visitors and it’s likely your dog is going to be quite excited by all the new people. Here are a few tips for a well-behaved dog when the family comes over for Christmas.
Tip 1: Exercise!
Be sure to exercise your dog before people arrive, to burn off some of that energy so its easier for them to be calm when guests knock on that door. A nice brisk walk, a game of fetch or a good run will do wonders for a dog’s manners!
Tip 2: Stagger Arrivals
If at all possible, ask your guests to show up at different times, even if it just 10 minutes, so your dog doesn’t get overwhelmed with a herd of people coming all at once. This is especially important for shy dogs, but it also helps the ones that get over excited.
Tip 3: Give Them Something to Do
Right before you know the first guests are coming, break out a meaty bone, puzzle toy or stuffed KONG. Having something delicious to occupy him will make your dog less likely to jump all over your guests. Toys for playing with kids are good too…just make sure they are appropriate for inside. For example, you may not want a child to pick up a tennis ball and throw it in the house. Softer toys are probably best!
Tip 4: Give Them an Escape
Some dogs will rush your guests, jumping all over them and licking them. Others may try to escape. Give your dog that escape! Have a crate with a cover set up in a room guests won’t be going in and keep both doors – the door to the room and the door to the crate – open so your dog can retreat if needed. A pleasant note on the door reminding kids to leave the dog alone if she goes in for a nap is always a good idea!
Tip 5: Tell Guests the Rules
It can be hard to manage, especially with family, but take time to let them know your dog’s behaviour cues and rules. For example, visitors knowing that “Off” means “don’t jump on me” instead of “Down,” can help your dog respond to strangers and be better behaved. Same with if they are allowed on the couch or whether they can have tidbits from the table.
Tip 6: Leash them
If you have a puppy or an exuberant big dog, having them on leash as guests arrive can help them not knock over your guests. Throughout the day, you can also have them drag a short leash so you can quickly divert them if necessary, which may make your life easier. For example, if your giant lab makes a beeline for your grandmother and you know he may jump, you can grab that leash and ask him to come with you instead, thus avoiding a potential injury.
It doesn’t take a lot to help your dog be well-behaved when family comes over. Making sure they have spent excess energy is really the key – if you do nothing else, do this! Follow the other tips and your holiday guests can enjoy a well-mannered dog that is not too stressed or excited. And remember, if your dog gets too over stimulated, you can always put them outside, or in their crate with the door closed with a chew of some kind. It’s not a punishment, but sometimes they just need some quiet time away from the relatives – just like us!