Guest Manners: Training Tips for Family Celebrations
Brought to you by the AKC GoodDog! Helpline – the AKC’s 7-day-a-week training support service
By Hilarie Erb, AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer
Are you making big plans for holiday meals and family get-togethers? Deciding on the menu, shopping for gifts, and getting the house in tip-top shape for company are big jobs. But if you want your dog to be a welcome part of the festivities, don’t forget to add training and management strategies to your to-do list.
It may be hard to believe, but not everyone appreciates an enthusiastic doggie greeting when they come to your house. A begging dog can also make it hard for you to relax and enjoy the delicious meal you’ve prepared. A dog underfoot at the table is also a temptation for guests to slip tidbits of potentially dangerous people-food to your pet when they think nobody is looking.
This is where teaching your dog to “go-to-your-bed” is important. Teaching your dog to go to her bed or rug, where she waits politely until given permission to get up, is not hard but it does take some time. Click here for GoodDog! Helpline Trainer Breanne Long’s how-to on this very handy skill.
Practice the “go-to-your-bed” command when you are home alone, without guests. This command is useful when you are working in the kitchen and don’t want your dog underfoot; or when a package is delivered and you need to answer the door; or when you are folding laundry and don’t really want the dog lying in the clean clothes; or while you sit down to eat your own breakfast.
Until your dog gets the hang of the command, you will need another plan. A 4-month old puppy, for example, will probably not have the self-control to sit quietly on a bed while happy guests arrive. And even the most well-trained dog who has this cue down-pat cannot resist the temptations from a party with hors-d’oeuvres, sweets, and drinks on low tables. For these instances, plan to set your dog up in his cozy crate in a quiet room, with television or music playing along with a long-lasting chew treat to enjoy.
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For more tips and advice on training your dog, join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by experienced dog trainers: www.akcgooddoghelpline.org.