Wondering if your dog will find the Christmas tree a handy indoor toilet? Or will attack the ornaments on the tree? Will join in with barks when the carolers come 'round?
Stop worrying, start preparing!
I gave a talk today for Your Dog's Friend in Maryland. They are dedicated to helping dogs stay in their homes by providing helpful advice to frustrated and confused dog owners. Here's a thumbnail sketch of what I covered today.
Start by planning. If you're worried about your dog jumping on guests, dashing out the door, or barking his fool head off, make a plan for how to handle the comings and goings. Assign a person to be responsible for the dog. Give that person a plan: tell him (or her) what to do with the dog when the doorbell rings or the door opens (have the dog on a leash, fill his pockets with really tasty treats, feed those treats rapid-fire to the dog as the guests are coming in).
This person, who we'll call the Dog Watcher, is solely responsible for the dog. At all times. Dog will be on the leash at all times and Dog Watcher should always have the leash in his hand.
Or if you don't have a Dog Watcher, use baby gates and crates to contain your dog. Stuff several Kongs with super delicious good food, then freeze them. Use those frozen Kongs to keep your dog busy while your guests are coming in and as dinner is getting served.
One last thing — your dog doesn't have to be perfect! No one's dog is, believe me. If it's going to be easier for you, and better for your dog, if you keep him pleasantly occupied (with those frozen Kongs) in a back bedroom, then do it. Think about your dog and what's best for him – and then make your plan. Check out an article on this very topic on my Newsletter page.