All dog lovers agree – it’s pretty magical when your best furry friend gets along with your human friends and family. This kind of harmony is ideal, especially in your own home, where you obviously want all of your guests to feel welcome and safe.
Not all dogs are born ready to interact with a bunch of people outside their immediate circle, however. Sometimes a little conditioning is needed to make your pooch comfortable around others, particularly if he’s still in the puppy phase or has a tendency to be territorial.
The thing to remember is that dogs, like so many of us, are creatures of habit, and guests can be very disruptive to a canine’s comfortable routine, sometimes causing your normally well-trained dog to act out. At these times, it’s crucial that you not lose your cool, too.
Here are a few tips for making your home a safe space, both for your dogs and your guests:
- Start small. Don’t overwhelm your dog right out of the gate. Begin by inviting a few people to your home at a time. (If you’re having a large gathering and you know your pet is not a party animal, you might consider putting your doggo in a separate room with some soothing music and his or her food, treats, and favorite toys.)
- Wait to open the door until your dog is ready. This is important. When someone knocks on the door or rings the bell, don’t answer it until your pet is calm and sitting down. Shower your pup with praise for maintaining his or her composure. (You might want to leash your pet for this step.)
- Work on the greeting first. Have your human guest greet your pet in a soothing voice. Then let your dog sniff your friend. Your dog should still be in the seated position. Once you and your guest are settled, invite your dog to join you both.
- Don’t be stingy with the treats. Your dog learns a lot about how to behave when you reinforce good behavior with his or her favorite goodies.
- Be patient. We repeat: be patient. It might take going through these steps several times before your pet interacts with your guests in a polite and restrained way. Remember to treat your very good dog to lots of love when they do get it right.
A few more things to consider: dogs are more perceptive than a lot people give them credit for. Have your guests ignore your pet if he is misbehaving. Your dog will get the point quickly.
Also, it’s totally acceptable to give your pet a timeout for a bit if she’s just too hyper or showing signs of aggression. It might pain you to separate your pet from the fun, but sometimes what’s needed is a bit of a reset, and most dogs will come out of a short period of isolation calmer and more ready to listen.
If you have questions or concerns about your pet and house guest safety, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (727) 376-7600.