Before You Get the Party Started
Before you get the party started, anticipate how your dog will respond to changing situations. This practice is the basis of a planned socialization routine. Think ahead about the sounds, textures, new experiences, new people, and give your dog time to adjust by practicing before the planned outing or visitors coming to your home. This article discusses ideas about how to plan for changes during holiday parties, guests, changes in the environment, and unexpected changes in the normal routine.
Having a party? Be sure to let guests know your dog is not allowed to have people food. This is especially important when the foods being served are rich (can cause stomach discomfort) and are so often potentially toxic to dogs (can cause serious illness). Is your dog familiar with the people on your guest list? If your dog is prone to difficulty in adjusting to the unexpected (person, child, sounds, or textures) you may need a backup plan.
These are a few ideas you might try if you have socialized (training practice) and when you are unable to socialize beforehand.
- ✔– Exercise, try exercising before guests arrive (going for a walk or playing with a favorite toy) so she is a bit on the tired side as guests arrive.
- ✔– Use the crate, if your dog becomes overly excited by the door bell, crate the dog during guest arrival, while the door is busy and the doorbell is causing excitement, and then gradually introduce him to people after they have settled in.
- ✔– Use sit, stay or wait commands, to give your dog a moment to adjust to the changes. Give him a treat and let him greet your guests after they have all arrived.
- ✔– Leave the crate door open, make sure your dog has a quiet safe place to retire from the excitement (leave the crate door open for example) so she can leave the group when she is overwhelmed or tired.
- ✔– Plan to have as much as possible exactly as normal. Avoid moving food, water, bed, toys, and other normal daily routine items while you are preparing for the holiday…unless you have time to plan ahead and give your dog time (many days) to adjust to the change. Because when she is overwhelmed and thirsty it would be easier for her to find water if it hasn’t been moved.
These are ideas to make the changes during holidays less stressful for your pet. If you have ideas please let us know. If you have questions we are looking forward to hearing them. A balanced environment doesn’t mean lack of excitement as much as it means preparation for elevated sounds and moods or changes.
Traveling with your dog? Traveling can also present new environmental elements. Review our guide here.