This time of year, company comes calling more often than usual, and resident dogs often need help dealing with holiday guests. Follow these tips to keep your dog safe:
- Brief your guests. Remind visitors of any rules you have regarding human-dog interactions, such as no jumping and no dogs on the beds. If your guests follow the rules, you'll save your dog a lot of confusion.
- Don't feed from the table. People food is not always safe for dogs, and inattentive guests may not know they're reinforcing bad behavior. This gives your dog the impression that yummy-smelling food on the table is simply there to be cadged by barking, jumping up and helping herself to a plate, says Penelope Brown, a dog trainer in Washington, D.C. Discourage such behavior by putting your four-legged friend's food in her own dish.
- Remove food from the counter. "As we teach our dogs not to counter surf by making alternative activities more rewarding, it's important not to tempt her to make a mistake," Brown says.
- Keep her away from the door. Frequent comings and goings give your dog too much opportunity to escape. Keep her in another room, or crate her during arrivals and departures.
- Don't force interactions. Some dogs aren't comfortable around people they don't know. If that's the case with your dog, don't expect her to be a genial canine host. Liz Palika, a trainer in Oceanside, CA, suggests making a safe, quiet place to which your dog can retreat when the crush of people or bustle of the holidays gets to be too much.
* The preceeding is courtesy of Susan McCullough for DogFancy magazine.