In her latest column, pet trainer for LeChic Pet and North Bend resident, Melissa Grant, offers pet owners some great advice to help keep your favorite furry friend from spending the holiday gathering jumping on grandma. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Controlling your dog around visitors can be a major problem. Holidays can be particularly tough. People moving in and out of the house, good holiday cooking smells and just a general feeling of excitement can make Fido a terror. He can jump up and make lots of noise appearing to be an uncontrollable dog. Fido’s behavior reflects on you and can make him look untrained and you a bad pet parent. With a little training and a lot of management, you can help your dog be a much better canine citizen and help your holidays run smoother.
First of all, know what your pooch is and is not capable of handling. If you have an eighty pound dog that just can’t learn to not jump up, don’t let him greet Great Grandma. Or you may have a dog that stinks at the door greeting, but can be counted on to behave once that initial hubbub is over. Think about your problem times and what you can do to make them better.
If you do have time to train, call a good one and get some tips for making that greeting go smoothly. Don’t be embarrassed about your jumping dog, we’ve seen hundreds. It’s a very common problem. A trainer may have you train an incompatible behavior.
For instance, if Fluffy barks every time the doorbell rings, a trainer may help you to train Fluffy to go to a rug upon hearing the bell. Or you could try putting jumping up on cue and then never ask for it. You may be asked to strongly reinforce the absence of the behavior. If Spot jumps up, he will be rewarded every time all four are on the floor. There are many ways to curb unwanted behavior – some you’ve probably never thought of.
Sometimes our dogs are great with us, but not good with guests. I had a dog as a child who was a biter. He rarely was allowed to participate in large gatherings. Snickers spent most holidays with a yummy bone in either the garage or the back yard. After the unfortunate “cousin biting” incident, my parents knew better than to have him loose around screaming, running children. That just wasn’t the kind of dog he was. He was safe and the kids were safe. Problem solved.
Something as simple as putting your dog on a leash can stop many problems. A leashed dog can’t jump up and be an annoyance. If you have a sturdy post or large piece of furniture (make SURE it’s large enough to hold the dog), the dog can be tethered to his bed. Just be sure someone is around to make sure the dog is safe and no one is teasing him while he’s leashed. A tethered dog can feel cornered and lash out if he is teased.
Lastly, make sure your visitors know how to behave around a dog. Not everyone knows canine manners. If they are dog novices, make sure they know not to give direct eye contact, bother the dog when he’s eating, and make sudden movements or loud noises around the dog. The dog needs to feel safe and in control at this hectic time of the year.
Good Luck and have a safe and controlled holiday season. Woof!