Training your dog to be a good Christmas party guest!
Why does mommy make me wear silly hats?
December 10, 2010 -
Did your dog join you for Thanksgiving dinner? Mine did. After sleeping the morning away while I ran the Turkey Trot, she was ready to go by afternoon. Her good manners won her an invite to Grandma’s house and she didn’t disappoint. A well-behaved dog is a joy to have around. Christmas is right around the corner and teaching your dog a few commands can be really useful with all the parties, guests, and decorations and might even score him his own invite. Here are the ones I use the most:
- “Leave it”. For most people, this is the most useful command. This tells your dog to “cease and desist”, stop thinking about it, stop trying to get it, stop pestering that person, don’t touch that food, etc.
- Go to your “place”. For me, this is the most useful command. This cue tells Kyra to go to her bed/mat, lie down, and wait until I tell her she can get up. I use this when people come in, are going through the buffet line, when I open the oven, when I’m carrying breakable things, or any time I need her out of my way.
- “Come”. This one might not seem obvious, but I use it to call her away from someone or over to my side of the room. This keeps her out of other people’s way.
- “Sit” is always a good one if you have a dog that tends to jump on people. If your dog is sitting, he can’t be jumping on Grandma or knocking Christmas cookies off someone’s plate.
- “Wait” at the door is another useful one if you will have lots of people going in and out. Unless your dog is excellent about waiting at the door even when people forget to tell him, it’s best to put him away while most people are coming and going so he doesn’t accidentally get let out.
While all of these cues are useful, management is going to be your best friend. You can’t be watching your dog all of the time and you need to make sure he doesn’t disturb the tree, open the presents, or eat all of Santa’s milk and cookies. Good use of baby gates, exercise pens, and closed doors can make the Christmas season much safer for your dog. Some dogs can’t tolerate all the guests and merry-making and that’s ok. Don’t hesitate to put your dog in another room or outside (if it’s safe and comfortable) so that he can have some much-needed downtime. Not every dog was born a party animal!
Well I better go brush up on Kyra’s present-opening skills. Don’t all dogs open their own gifts?