Prepping your dog for house guests

December 11, 2023

The Holidays are a time for celebration but also a potential source of stress for your animal. Nip your dog’s anxiety in the bud with the following suggestions.

Take your dog out before guests arrive

You have a thousand things to do. As you prepare the turkey and wrap your last presents, it’s difficult to get out with your dog out. But an animal who’s had a good dose of exercise will likely be happier and better behaved than one who’s pacing to get out. And remember that dogs like their daily routines; it’s important to stick to their schedules and find time to be alone with them every day.

Prepare a quiet retreat

Dogs have a keener sense of hearing than people do, which means that the noise from lots of people and music can put a strain on your 4-legged friend. If your dog starts to show signs of anxiety take him to a quiet room, with a bone, interactive bowl and water, and check on him throughout the evening.

Be consistent with discipline

Consistency is essential when it comes to training your dog. House guests shouldn’t bend your rules. Let your guests know your rules with your dog and that they’re important. For example, if you want your dog to remain calm when people arrive, ask your guests to ignore his barking until he calms down. This way your dog will learn that he has to be quiet to get attention. Try practicing this before your event.

Your dog tends to jump on people? Keep some treats by the front door. If he starts to jump up, throw a treat to distract him.

Tip: Door bells can be unpleasant for dogs, especially when rung repeatedly. Let your guests know that your door is unlocked and to let themselves in (without ringing).

Prepare some distractions

Your dog tends to act up during meals? Watch out for your Holiday feast! Be certain to keep him busy with a toy or an interactive bowl. If your dog’s more interested by what’s on your plate, have some treats on hand and reward him each time he sits or lies down. Don’t forget to be careful with foods that can be dangerous for your pet.

Kids + dog = close supervision

Your dog’s not used to being around young children? An adult should be present at all times to supervise. To get them acquainted, start off by asking the children to give a couple of commands (without touching your dog). Next step: encourage them to squat down and hold out the back of their hand for your dog to sniff. Once the relationship is off to a good start (and only then), let them pet your dog. You can also show kids how to throw a ball or play with a toy. Be on the lookout for any signs of overexcitement and if the situation becomes too much for your dog to handle, take him to his quiet retreat.

In a nutshell, preparation—of your dog and your guests—is definitely the key ingredient for a happy and harmonious gathering which brings together people and dogs.

Happy Holidays to you and your animals from everyone at Pawsie!


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