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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Tips To Keep Your Pooch Behaving His Holiday Best

Tips to Keep Your Pooch Behaving His Holiday Best

PetSmart Debbie McKnight, Accredited PetSmart Trainer

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The holidays are here and what better gift to give yourself than a well-mannered pooch?  Since the holidays usually include guests of some sort, we’ve included tips to help Fido be the hit of your holidays!

The holidays are here and what better gift to give yourself than a well-mannered pooch?  Since the holidays usually include guests of some sort, we’ve included tips to help Fido be the hit of your holidays!

  • Teach Fido to sit politely for greetings.  As much as everyone loves your dog, they love him even more if he can keep his feet on the floor and off their laps.  For best success, put your dog on leash before people start arriving.  Not only will you be able to control him if he begins to jump, but you’ll also avoid him running out the door.  You can stand on his leash (make sure it’s not too short so he can stand up comfortably) if it’s too hard to hold him back and open the door.  Tell your guests that Fido is in training and he needs to be polite before they say hello to him.  Have your dog sit (using a treat if necessary) and once he’s sitting and calm, then let your guests pet him.  If at any point, he gets too excited, have them ignore him and wait until he calms down.
  • If answering the door with Fido in tow is too difficult, it may be best to keep him in another room, his crate or outside until everyone has arrived.  Then if you’d like to bring him in, put him on leash, make him sit first and then lead him in.  Just as before, make sure everyone ignores him if he’s behaving rudely.
  • Once he’s in and everyone has greeted him, people may be tempted to feed him some inappropriate goodies - or he may be tempted to steal some!  It’s best if you teach him to stay on a bed or mat, within sight of you, but out of the way.  You should start this training early, by walking him over to the mat and when he steps on, tell him “Good Boy!” and give him a treat.  Then, pick up the mat, put it down somewhere else, and repeat.  Pretty soon, it’ll be hard to keep Fido off the mat!  At that point, you can start cueing him to lie down once he’s on the mat and gradually make him stay longer and longer before you reward him.  If you practice this during your mealtimes, before all the guests arrive, he will be on his way to being a pro at staying on his mat.
  • Not all dogs are cut out for all the excitement of the holidays.  As always, don’t put him in a situation where he cannot be successful. It’s a good idea to have a quiet place for your dog to go when he’s had too much.  If he doesn’t know when he’s had enough of a good thing, put him in the crate with a favorite chewbone and give him some time to relax.

    The holidays are a time to enjoy the ones you love.  Teaching your dog some basic skills means he can be an enjoyable part of the celebration.  Happy Holidays!

    Debbie McKnight is an accredited PetSmart trainer in Hurst, Texas.

    For information on PetSmart's Accredited Training, please visit PetSmart's training web site.

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