Your Dog Etiquette Guide: How to Help Your Dog Be a Good House Guest

Dog on welcome mat
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Your hosts are not responsible for taking care of your dog in their home — you are!

Holiday travel can be stressful for people and pets alike. If you're lucky, your friends or family has invited your pooch to come with you on your visit this year. But being a house guest is a big deal for a dog — and he may need help staying on his best manners during your visit. To help your pup fit into your hosts’ household (and increase his chances of being invited back), follow these doggy etiquette tips.

Be a Good Guest

Plan ahead. Having firm dates for arrival and departure will help your hosts plan for your visit. This is particularly important if they have to make any changes to their home or routine to accommodate your dog. In addition, ask about planned outings or events — if you’re going to need to leave your dog for any length of time, find a local doggy day care or a pet sitter who can care for your pooch while you’re out.


Be upfront about your dog’s behavior. If your pooch is prone to countersurfing or door dashing, let your hosts know in advance so they will not be caught off-guard. But keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to help your dog be on his best behavior, which means supervising him in situations that might tempt him to misbehave. If food stealing is an issue, keep him away from areas where food is being prepared or served. If you’re worried about him making a break for the door, keep him on his leash when guests are arriving. And work with him before your visit to retrain these behaviors.

Follow the house rules. Your dog may be allowed to lounge on the sofa or sleep in your bed at home, but if your hosts have a no-pets-on-the-furniture policy, you need to respect it. Train your dog to get off the furniture on command or go to his spot when he’s asked to do so. For times when you cannot supervise your dog, make him comfortable in a crate or dog-safe room.


Be responsible. Taking your dog for walks, scooping his poop and providing food, water and entertainment are all the responsibility of the dog owner — not the host or hostess. Additional gestures like offering to vacuum up pet hair or launder any blankets your dog used go a long way in showing your gratitude at having your furry friend included.

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