Whether expected or not, it’s important to prepare your dog for visitors to prevent any problems

When the doorbell rings, does your dog lose his mind with anxiety or wag his tail with anticipation? Whether you are having friends over, holiday guests, or an outdoor BBQ, party planning involves your dog, too.

Even the most well-behaved dogs may get too excited about having company in the house, and display different reactions to visitors. While they may mean to greet them with excitement, they might injure your guest or themselves in the process.

To prepare your dog for visitors, consider these steps to ensure a good time is had by all.

Preparing Your Dog for Visitors

Know Your Dog

Are they anxious around new people? Are they happy when the doorbell rings, or are they aggressive and protective?

Understanding your dog’s temperament and how they react in different situations is key when anticipating houseguests.

Most dogs just want to know if the visitor is friendly or a threat. However, out-of-control behaviors like excessive barking or jumping are annoying and dangerous. If your pet bolts for the door when it’s opened, they could become a tripping hazard, knock visitors down, or injure themselves in the process.

This is where basic commands like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ come in handy. If you haven’t trained your dog to obey basic commands, it will be much more challenging to control their behaviors and for them to understand your expectations.

Make an introduction

After your dog has had a moment to understand that your houseguest isn’t a foe but a friend, make an introduction between the guest and your dog.

If you notice the dog seems stressed, don’t force the interaction, as it could backfire. Instead, continue with the visit and the dog will likely come around.

Another alternative is to give your guest treats for the dog to reward good behavior.

Set rules with guests

Make sure your guests know the rules with your dog and that there are no exceptions.

If you don’t feed your dog human food, make sure that rule is clear with your guests and that there are no exceptions.

Additionally, don’t allow children to rough house with the dog. Since they don’t know each other well, the dog may snap at the child and cause injury.

If certain areas of the home remain blocked from the dog, make sure your guests understand that as well. Establishing clear rules and boundaries will make a much safer and enjoyable visit for your pet and guests.

Children and Elderly Visitors

No matter the age of the visitors, create a private retreat for your dog, so they may escape and take a break from the interactions. If your dog isn’t used to children, the energy level may be too much for them, especially for older dogs.

Always monitor and supervise playtime between your dog and the child. Most bites or snaps occur when a child and pet are left alone. While they might mean to be playful, pulls and tugs may not sit well with your dog.

Additionally, older guests may feel unsteady with a dog who jumps or becomes rambunctious out of excitement. To remain in control and prevent injury, leash your dog when an elderly visitor or small child arrives.

If your guest is an anti-pet person, take that into consideration as you are planning their visit. Assure your guests of your dog’s good behavior and encourage guests to give the dog treats as they warm up to each other.

With these tips in mind, you and your dog will be all set for the next party!

Contact us today with any questions about preparing your dog for visitors, and for any of your pet’s health and wellness needs.