Having people over can be a fraught time for people with dogs. Not only do you have to make sure the house is presentable and free of dog toy trip hazards but you have to make sure your dog is presentable and on their best company manners. Mr. N’s idea of company manners is to sit in everyone’s lap and demand petting and dragging out half the toys from his toy box to show off. For most people, it’s probably more along the lines of the dogs not begging or stealing food, jumping, or otherwise acting obnoxiously.So how do you train your dog for guests?
Company Manners: Train Your Dog for Guests
Know the Basics
Dogs should know basic manners to make them fit for company. Sit, down, stay, leave it, off are all valuable cues for them to know when faced with new people. If they’re not quite ready yet, you can keep them on a leash or tether them to you. When that is not doable, it’s time for other management methods.
If there are people that are coming over like contractors and delivery people, Mr. N is cratedcrated or confined to a room. Mr. N firmly believes that everyone wants to greet him so it’s easier if the interactions are kept to a minimum. If your dog is fearful of people or too rambunctious or someone is allergic, crating them is a viable option. Exercise ahead of time and a filled Kong or other chew will keep them occupied if they have previous training in hanging out by themselves.
Settling calmly on a mat is a valuable skill for dogs to learn. We haven’t quite gotten to the stage where Mr. N will remain on his mat when visitors come over. But once the initial greeting frenzy is over, Mr. N will calm himself by bringing out a chew and working on it while people chat. I can’t really take credit for it as it’s one of the ideas that have sprouted from his tiny busy brain. So I do my part by making sure that there are always chews available. He likes bully sticks, trachea, and these rawhide alternative chews. His mat is also out in the living room so he can go chill if he feels the need.
Know Your Dog’s Limits
Having company over can be a high temptation and/or high stress time for dogs. Do you know what they can handle? Mr. N is very trustworthy around food. We had a BBQ once where someone left the raw hamburger patties where he could reach them for an hour. And they remained untouched. So I don’t worry too much about watching him around food except making sure that other people aren’t slipping him tidbits. Someone offered him lettuce off her plate once and he just looked at her disdainfully. He doesn’t believe in eating vegetables).
Dogs are another story. He gets super excited around other dogs though so I make sure no one is getting too aroused and everyone is behaving themselves. When other dogs come over, I make sure the toys and chews are hidden to reduce the chances of conflict. Also because Mr. N’s things are a choking hazard for bigger dogs. It would also make him very sad if his toys were destroyed. He’s pretty gentle with them so we have toys dating back from when we adopted him.
With kids, it’s usually more the case that I have to supervise to make sure they don’t accidentally injure him because he is so tiny. If there are young kids visiting, either he’s with me at all times or a trustworthy adult is watching him during the period that I’m elsewhere. Little kids and dogs, especially new-to-the-dog kids should always be separated or supervised. It’s not fair to the dog or to the kids to put them in a situation where they’re in danger of getting hurt or stressed.
How do you train your dog for guests?
Positive Pet Training Blog Hop
Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier, Travels with Barley and Wag ‘n Woof Pets. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below. Our theme for this month is training manners for company but any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long. And our next hop will begin December 4th and continues for a week. The theme is Naughty & Nice. Your dog’s good points and bad points and how you’re working on improving them.