There are countless reasons that other people might come into your home, and it’s important to make your dog and your guests comfortable, happy, and safe at these times. Who doesn’t like a party? If your dog is well-socialized and loves people, chances are they love a get-together as much as you do. However, there are things that you should think about before deciding to host a party to ensure that your dog and your guests will have a good time.
Evaluate Your Dog’s Comfort and Discomfort
You know your dog best. Are they good with kids? Noise? Strangers? Do they have a tendency to jump on people, bite, growl, or bark when there are people around? Do they beg for food? As much as you might want to use a party or gathering as an opportunity to socialize your dog, a large number of people may be overwhelming for them. If your dog behaves poorly in crowds, (jumps on people, growls, guards toys or food, or bark), it may not be the right time to host a get-together in your home.
If you choose to host a party, do your best to set your dog up for success. Walk them and play with them shortly before the event so they’re more tired and better able to relax. 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. If your pup may be better off in their own space, crate them in a separate room and close the door.
Let Your Guests Know Your Treat Rules
You love your dog and you love your friends. The last thing you want is for your friends to reinforce behaviors that you don’t want to see in your dog. You can ensure that your dog gets clear and consistent direction by advising your friends about the rules for you and your dogs.
Pets, like humans, can have differences in their dietary needs and restrictions. Some owners limit the number of treats their pets have per day or restrict the types of treats their pups can eat, and some owners do not offer their dogs treats at all. It’s important to tell your guests what your rules are regarding treats and urge them to respect your wishes. If guests insist on sneaking your dog treats after you’ve asked them not to, it may be time to put your dog in another room.
Don’t Let the Dog Out
When people are coming and going, bringing in food or other items, or standing in doorways to chat, your dog may find opportunities to slip through the door. If there’s any chance your dog will run away, don’t depend on guests to watch out for them. Putting them in a room or crating them may be your best option for keeping them safe.
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 from tables, plates, or the garbage. They may also find decorations appealing for chewing on or playing with. Be careful to 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 secured can or container that 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, put them in another room with a big bone of their own. Not only will it distract them and give them something to chew on, it will prevent them from begging or picking up treats under the table. Just make sure it’s veterinary dentist approved.
Social occasions of all kinds can be a great way for you and your friends to enjoy your dog. You can make sure those special times are good times for your dog as well.