I was delighted to see a recent local newspaper article entitled “How To Reduce Stress On Pets When Hosting Guests”. With the holidays approaching, I thought this was fantastic to bring to people’s attention and I quickly delved into reading the suggestions. It includes “maintaining the same routine, keeping identifications current, spending time with your pet, not allow table scraps, leaving a quiet space available for your pet, know pet travel regulations” etc. Though these are all wonderful things to think about, I didn’t feel these steps actually solved the problem of reducing stress in your dog’s life while hosting guests. That was the name of the article!
As much as the holidays are a time to feel goodness, it’s also a time that adds anxiety to our days. Having a dog with some less than desirable quirks, adds to that anxiety especially if you are planning on having people over. How will the dog react to people coming into the home? Scruffy, as much as you love him, barks or jumps on visitors as they arrive, jumps on the couch while grandpa is trying to tell his war story for the gazillionth time, begs at the table for food, tries to jump and clean the plates of unsuspecting children at the “kid table”, paces or drools. Why does this happen? It is possibly your dog was never taught the appropriate behaviors to begin with. They may not know where they are expected to be or what they are supposed to be doing.
(If you are one of those people who can dress their dog up in anything or it just goes along with the party, you are lucky, my friend! Have a great time and send me a picture from the festivities!)
For the rest of you: Through my experience, I know better than to think that just because it’s a festive day at your home, that the dog will act any differently than it did yesterday. If your pet is allowed to sustain undesirable behaviors normally, the chance of those behaviors occurring when you have guests over is highly probable. In fact, it is unfair to expect different behaviors just because of the holidays. After all, to your dog, Christmas is just another day to a dog.
Please don’t let this be an added pressure! Your dogs can be wonderful additions to the party if we teach them what they are expected to do before the party approaches. I offer very practical solutions. I will come to your home and teach your entire family HOW to sustain good behaviors on a daily basis. Everyone becomes involved in the steps necessary to teach your dog/dogs a better way to behave. Once we teach your dog better behaviors, we reinforce them appropriately on a consistent basis.
Now consider this as an answer to the original newspaper article: Consistent reinforcement lowers your dog’s anxiety levels while raising your leadership skills. Introduce new behaviors, reinforce them and extinguish bad behaviors. Only through repetition and daily consistency in your reinforcement will your dog be PREPARED (conditioned) to act responsibly when old Aunt Mildred arrives with her self-proclaimed famous fruit roll. Your dog will know what to do, you will know what to expect, peace sustains in each moment and the party goes on until Uncle Johnny passes out from spiked eggnog overload.
I take pride in having a dog training program that absolutely sets you, your family members and your furry friend up for success from day one. Contact me today and let’s get this party started! I Triple Dog Dare you!