Holidays, special occasions, grilling out with friends, your child's sleepover party...there are a lot of reasons strangers, or casual friends come to your house. How can you make your dog, and your guests, comfortable, happy and safe during those times?
Who doesn’t like a party? There’s food, socializing, excitement, new people. If your dog is well socialized and loves people, chances are they love a party or get-together as much as you do. However, there are things that you need to think about before combining your dog and a party to ensure your dog, and your guests, all have a good time.
Evaluate Your Dog’s Comfort and Discomfort
You know your dog best. Think about how a holiday or special occasion might impact them. Are they good with kids? Noise? Strangers? Do they have a tendency to jump on people, bite, grow, get over excited, or bark a lot when there are people around? Do they beg for food when food is being prepared or served? As much as you might want to take the opportunity to socialize them, a party or large numbers of people may be overwhelming for them. If your dog has non-social behaviors, ie. jumping on people, humping people, growling, guarding toys or food, or becoming too excitable, protect them. Crate them, or put them in a bedroom and close the door. Play with them and walk them shortly before the event so they’re tired. Give them treats and toys so they’re not bored, and if people want to visit with them, limit it to a few people at a time.
Let Your Guests Know Your Treat Rules
Pet owners vary according to whether or not their dog gets treats. Some prefer a limited number of treats per day, or only certain kinds of healthy treats, or table scraps are okay, or no table scraps or “people food” at all, ever. Some owners prefer their dogs only eat at designated meal times. The times these preferences are most likely to be ignored, forgotten, or broken in some way is during the holidays or special occasions. That’s why it’s important to tell your guests what your rules are regarding treats and urge them to respect your wishes. If guests insist on breaking the rules and sneaking your dog treats after you’ve asked them not to, it may be time to put your dog away.
As humans we often break our own diets or restrictions to “treat” ourselves — so why not give our dogs a break too? Well, dogs aren’t people and when they see a rule broken they get confused. Dogs don’t reason like people do, and they don’t understand it’s special occasion. They’re more likely to think your power and dominance is weakening. So, they do what comes naturally, they challenge it and push the boundary (beg) to see if they can keep getting treats. It’s important to be consistent with your dog — so they feel safe and comfortable. Dogs actually like rules because that’s how packs operate in the wild.
Don’t Let the Dog Out
When people are coming and going, bringing in food or other items, standing in a doorway to chat, there’s a good chance your dog will find multiple opportunities to flee. If you have a gated yard, that’s one thing, but if your dog tends to “run like someone left the gate open,” that’s something else.
If your dog isn’t trained to stay inside unless invited outside, putting them in a room, crating them, or typing them up in the back yard may be your best option for keeping them safe. When you tell your guests about your treat rules, also let them know the dog should remain inside, and to watch to make sure the dog doesn’t run outside. If there’s any chance your dog will escape and run away, don’t depend on guests to watch out for them. Crate them, or put them in another area of your home until the party's over, or all guests are inside.
Dog Proof Your Decorations and Food
When there are a lot of people, noise, distractions and food around, your dog may be tempted to steal food off of tables, plates, or the garbage. They may also find decorations appealing for chewing on or playing with. If you have candles lit, they can get too close and catch a tail or their fur on fire, or knock over a candle and cause a larger fire. Try to avoid unattended or watched candles.
Electrical cords, small pieces they can swallow, and other hazards can ruin their evening and yours. So keep decorations out of reach of your dog, and make sure guests know to keep their food off of low lying tables. Garbage should be disposed of in a large, secured can or container your dog can’t get into, or turn over.
Give Your Dog a Bone
When it’s time for you and your guests to sit down to a meal, complete with nose tantalizing smells for your dog, put them in another room with a big beefy bone of their own. Not only will it distract them and give them something to chew on, they won’t be begging or picking up treats under the table.
Holidays, BBQs, get-togethers, dinner parties, and birthdays or social occasions of all kinds can be a great way for you and your friends to enjoy your dog. But make sure those special times are good times for your dog as well.
Not everyone likes or owns guns, but if you're one of the millions of Americans who do, how can you train your dog not to be gun shy? Even if you don’t hunt or own a gun, you still want a dog that is not noise shy. Gun or noise-shy dogs panic and run away when they hear a loud noise. They’ll often dart into the street, often getting hit by a car. Or they may just blindly run away, getting lost just trying to get away from the noise. Training your dog to be confident and at ease around loud noises is just another part of raising a healthy dog.
Thank you Denver dog owners and dog lovers! Your votes and support made us the 5280 Readers Choice Award Winner for Pet Services in Denver for 2019! The Editor’s Choice Award went to Canine Rehabilitation & Conditioning Group. We’d like to congratulate them too!
Who wouldn’t feel safer knowing their family pet was also a trained guard dog!? If you have small children, live alone, or in a less than safe neighborhood, a trained protection dog can be an extra element of protection for you and your family.
If you don’t like guns, or worry about whether you're skilled in self-defense, think about training your dog to be a protector. While you should have a full line of home protection options (security cameras, good locks, alarms etc.), a dog is an important part of your security options.
Any veterinarian will tell you the two things that will cure almost every problem a dog has are “exercise and diet.” If you feed your dog the proper diet and get them the right amount of exercise from the day you get them, you’ll eliminate most of their health issues for their entire life. Depending on the breed you have, your dog may experience genetic issues. However, even those symptoms can be reduced with diet, and exercise. I have another post on exercise, but let’s talk about diet today, beginning with the raw dog food diet.
Most owners can easily tell a bark that means their dog is sounding a warning, or yelping in pain. But what about the other barks, the ones that could mean anything from, “I’m bored, hungry, or tired,” to “Take me for a walk.” Do you know what your dog’s barks mean? Like humans, dogs have a different tone of voice, or bark, for conveying what they're thinking or feeling. Unlike humans, all dogs communicate with the same language. Like us, dogs communicate (bark) when they are experiencing different moods. They bark when they’re frightened, lonely, surprised, irritated, or happy, confused, or excited. If you pay attention to your dog you can quickly learn their language as well as they learn ours - at least enough to communicate general information!
Bark at the Park
Is your dog ready to attend their first public, dog friendly party? Call them “Bark at the Park,” events, or “dog friendly festivals,” but these invents not only welcome you and your dog, they encourage their presence at the event!
The annual Colorado Rockies Bark at the Park is August 13, 2019. They encourage all owners and their dogs to come out and enjoy the ball game and being outdoors and around other dogs. If the most socializing your dog gets is with family, or at your local dog park, this is a great opportunity for them to have an even greater time - but ONLY if they’re ready for it. Are they?
Who doesn’t want a dog who’s so trained it will open the fridge and bring you a cold drink, or flush the toilet, or high five your friends when they come in the house? But there are other commands they’ll need to learn before they learn the ones that will make them viral video stars.
Aggression is the most common and most serious behavior problem in dogs. Not only is it the reason why most owners seek professional help, it’s why thousands of dogs are surrendered to animal shelters every year. Aggression is more than just biting or threatening to bite. It can include destructive behavior, unhealthy dominance or territorialism in the family. This territorial behavior can include “resource guarding,” such as growling or snapping at anyone who gets near a toy, food bowl, or bedding. Aggression can also show up in fearful or timid dogs who suddenly bite, lunge, or attack out of fear.
The raw dog food diet or the ancestral diet has many benefits. Touted by many as the ‘miracle’ diet for dogs, especially for those with a lot of ailments, the raw dog food diet works because it is the most ‘normal’ diet for our four-legged friends.
Why? Dogs evolved eating the raw dog food diet. They are not ‘designed’ to eat corn and wheat which comprises about half of what is in commercial kibbles and canned pet foods. Feeding your dog raw means you will be in complete control of everything, just like the control you have about the food you eat or serve to your family.