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Having guests over can be stressful if your pets aren't properly prepared for company. Consider Jackson the Papillon who shakes, cowers and paces when company arrives. Or Katie the Westie, who growls and bares her teeth when table scraps fall near her. Or Bosque the Goldendoodle, who jumps, barks and causes general mayhem every time the doorbell rings.
Here are five common behavior pitfalls and some quick tips for managing — or avoiding — each of them.
If there have been more people in the house than normal, this can cause fear and aggression to escalate. A stressed-out dog may snap at or bite a guest, which is why it is so important to help your dog manage his fears.
Solution: If your dog is most anxious when guests arrive, having visitors greet him in the right manner can have a calming effect. If he is overwhelmed by extra people in your house, create a getaway space for him where he can be safely separated from the crowd. And for a big party or event, consider taking him to doggy day care or boarding him. Of course, if your dog is aggressive toward or overly fearful of people, it’s important to get professional help, starting with your veterinarian.
Is your dog already the excitable type? Then having a party may increase his enthusiasm and activity level. Barking incessantly, jumping on guests and racing around your house are just a few of the problems you may face with a bulldozer-type dog.
Solution: Put a front clip harness or head halter on your dog and attach a leash before guests arrive. With the right equipment, you can more easily control your dog’s forward motion and prevent him from assaulting friends and family as they come through the door. If possible, greet guests outside. Most dogs are able to calm down more easily when greeting in an open area, like your front porch, rather than a closed in space, like the entryway. Promote calm behavior by rewarding your dog with high-value treats for behaviors like sitting, looking at you and keeping all four paws on the floor. Once the initial greeting is over, most dogs will settle down, especially if given a food puzzle or toy to keep them busy.
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