For many pawrents, the holiday season is the perfect time to give their furbaby extra attention and fun new toys. It is also the time of the year to get together with two-legged friends and family members, and this might involve welcoming guests into their furbaby's home.
Some pups feel anxious around the holidays when unfamiliar faces appear, and the routine seems out of whack. Other furbabies get overexcited and may make some guests feel uncomfortable with kisses, barking and a tendency to sniff wherever they please. You may have friends or family members who are afraid of dogs or do not know how to handle them. How do you throw a holiday party that makes everyone, including your furbaby, happy, comfortable and safe?
In this post, we'll help you and your furbaby survive the holiday stress together and prepare for a holiday party everyone will enjoy.
Preparing Your Dog for Holiday Guests
Some guests may not be used to pets, or they may be allergic to animals. Children, in particular, may not understand how to play gently with a furbaby. There are ways to help your furbaby behave well in front of visitors and reduce the risk of awkward moments. Here's how to prepare for a successful holiday party when children, guests who are afraid of dogs or guests who have allergies enter your home.
1. Helping Your Dog Get Along With Children
Furbabies and children often make perfect companions because they love to play and have tons of energy. However, if your dog has had little experience with children in the past, it helps to teach some basic commands before the holiday party starts to prevent jumping or rough play. For example, if your furbaby knows how to sit, it's less likely they will jump up and knock a child down.
Even if your holiday party is just a couple of weeks away, you can still teach your pup basic manners to prepare for guests. In just a few short lessons a day, your furbaby can learn simple obedience commands quickly. You can even train your dog while you watch TV or do housework. It's recommended to keep training sessions short, or less than fifteen minutes several times a day.
The following commands will help your pup behave during the holidays and future gatherings. They are easy to teach and easy to learn.
The first command to teach your furbaby is how to sit. This is an incredibly versatile trick you can use to make sure they don't jump up on guests or to keep them sitting in one place while you carry dinner to the table. To teach your dog to sit, take these steps :
- Hold a treat close to your furbaby's nose.
- Move your hand up, so they follow the treat with their nose and wait for their bottom to hit the floor.
- Once they are seated, say, "Sit."
- Give them a treat and lots of praise.
Repeat this exercise a few times every day until your furbaby gets the hang of it. Ask your furbaby to sit before meals, walks and other exciting situations to help them stay calm.
Your furbaby must know how to sit before they are ready to learn how to stay. Once they have mastered the "sit" command, teach them how to stay by taking the following steps:
- Ask your dog to sit.
- Open the palm of your hand in front of you and say, "Stay."
- Take a few steps back and give your pup a treat if they stay.
- Slowly increase the number of steps you take back before you give them a treat.
- Always praise your furbaby for staying even if they only stay for a few seconds.
This command takes more time to master, but with enough practice, your pup is sure to catch on. Once your furbaby knows how to sit and stay, invite over friends who are comfortable around dogs to put your furbaby to the test and see if they are ready to party.
You can also teach your pooch how to go to their place or lie down. The "place" command, for example, can help your furbaby stay put for a short period, such as when dinner is being served or when guests move into the living room. Any of these commands can help maintain a sense of calm during high-energy moments.
More Tips to Help Your Dog Behave Around Children
Once your dog knows basic obedience commands, you've reached an important milestone together. You can use the commands to make social experiences much more pleasant during the holidays and beyond. In addition to behavioral commands, use the following tips to prepare your dog for young visitors:
- Socialize your dog: If possible, find safe, positive ways to introduce your furbaby to children who have experience with dogs and can play gently with furry friends. Once your puppy has had positive experiences with children, they will associate these good times with other children. If your furbaby is older, you can still socialize them slowly and gently with plenty of treats. However, if your dog shows any signs of stress around children, remove them from the situation right away.
- Practice handling: Children might tug on tails or touch ears, and if your furbaby is not used to this type of attention from children, they may get anxious. You can help prepare your pup by giving them praise and treats while you gently pull their tail, feel their ears, hold their paws or give them hugs. If your furbaby shows anxiety during this type play, it might be best to keep them away from children.
- Stop jumping: If your furbaby jumps on a child, this could lead to an injury. Put a stop to this behavior before holiday guests arrive. If your pup jumps on you when you get home, ask them to sit. If they do not listen, walk out the door and come back in and try again. When they sit, give lots of praise.
- Introduce them to toys: Children's toys often make squeaky noises just like your furbaby's toys. Your pup might be tempted to steal a young guest's toy and take off. To prevent this behavior, introduce your furbaby to children's toys and practice commands before kids come over. Make sure to redirect your furbaby to their dog toys.
- Act like a kid: Get your pup used to childlike behavior by acting like a kid in their presence. For example, you might skip through the yard yelling in a high-pitched voice after telling your furbaby to stay. See how they do and use commands to teach them to stay still.
- Set rules: Speak with parents before they enter your home and come up with some safety rules. For example, remind them that a child should not approach a dog when it is eating, sleeping, has a toy or is hiding under furniture.
If your furbaby does not feel comfortable around children no matter what you try, they may need more time to work on their social skills. Some dogs may never feel comfortable around children, and that's okay – you still have options. To avoid issues, keep your furbaby in a secure, separate area during the party and make sure parents are fully aware of the situation.
2. Preparing for Guests With Pet Allergies
Some guests may have pet allergies, meaning they cough, sneeze or experience other symptoms caused by inflammation of nasal passages . Guests with severe allergies may have trouble breathing around pets. Those who experience strong allergic reactions to pets should not attend a holiday party at your home. However, guests who have symptoms that are more irritating than life-threatening can be okay if you prepare your home and your pooch . Here's how:
- Clean: You probably already have this on your pre-party to-do list, however, pay special attention to the carpet, upholstered furniture and guest rooms. Keep guest rooms off-limits to your furbaby, and try to keep them off of upholstered furniture. Limit their access to carpets and rugs and much as possible, and clean the areas where your pet spends the most time thoroughly and frequently.
- Ventilate: Ventilation helps remove allergens from the home. However, in the winter, it can be difficult to keep windows open for long. Opening a window once a day for even just a few moments can help bring in fresh air and get allergens out. Consider leaving windows open just a crack if you can still maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Purify: If you own an air purifier, make sure you have it up and running while guests are over. Place it where you will be spending the most time or in the guest's room.
- Bathe: Give your furbaby a warm, comforting bath shortly before the party to help reduce allergens.
- Stock up: Make sure you have over-the-counter allergy medications on hand just in case a guest starts to experience allergy symptoms.
- Separate: Despite it all, it might be best to keep your furbaby in a separate room until the party is over.
3. Welcoming Guests Who Are Afraid of Dogs
Some of your guests may have had negative experiences with dogs in the past or are afraid of furbabies for other reasons. For guests who feel uncomfortable around dogs but are not terrified of them, you can use obedience commands to help them feel more comfortable. Teaching your furbaby tricks like how to shake "hands" or rollover may also help calm guest's nerves when they see how adorable and approachable your pooch is. They might even warm up to your pup after a while. However, if a guest experiences a lot of distress around your furbaby, you might try the following solutions:
- Set up a room for your pup: It might be best to separate your furbaby from guests until they leave. Make a room comfortable for your dog with a bed or soft place to nap, water and treat-dispensing toys. Use Furbo Dog Camera to keep an eye on your furbaby while they are alone in their room. With Furbo, you can also dispense treats to comfort them until the party is over. Make sure to post a "Do not open" sign on the door.
- Use a pet gate: You might keep your furbaby away from guests by using a pet gate. This way, your furbaby can still see what's going on in the party while keeping a safe distance from guests who are afraid of dogs. When choosing a gate, make sure it's an adequate size for your furbaby because if it's too small, they might be able to climb or jump over the gate. It should also be easy to open and close, sturdy, and easy to install.
- Crate train: Crate training can provide a safe space for your pup while keeping them contained. However, crate training can take days or weeks depending on your furbaby's age, personality and experiences. If a crate isn't a good option, a pet gate or separate room may be a better way to go.
No matter what, make sure your pup gets sufficient exercise before the party. Take them for a walk or arrange a playdate before guests arrive so your furbaby will nap or feel relaxed during the visit.
Should You Take Your Dog to a Holiday Party?
Unless you are going to a party specifically for furbabies, taking a dog to a holiday party is not a good idea. You never know who might have a pet allergy or a fear of dogs. Likewise, what if someone brings a dog or a cat who doesn't get along with your furbaby? It's best to play it safe and leave your furbaby at home where they can be comfortable and happy. You might hire a pet sitter for the day or drop your furbaby off at a dependable doggy daycare or kennel. If you plan to be gone only for the day, you can leave your furbaby at home and use Furbo to keep you connected.
What to Do If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
If you're worried about your furbaby because they experience separation anxiety whenever you leave, Furbo can help keep them calm and provide stimulation while you're away . Use Furbo to talk to your furbaby and soothe them with your voice, or toss them treats to take their mind off of their troubles. You can also use Furbo to watch for signs of severe distress so you can head home if necessary.
Also, leave your furbaby with fun toys like a stuffed KONG or a treat puzzle that'll keep them busy for at least 30 minutes. A frozen KONG will keep them occupied even longer. Your pup will feel the most anxious within the first 40 minutes they are alone. With plenty of toys, chew treats and Furbo, you can help them get through the toughest part.
If your pup has severe separation anxiety, you might want to speak with their veterinarian about anxiety medication and behavioral therapy before leaving your furbaby alone. If possible, ask a family member, friend or pet sitter whom your dog feels comfortable with to stay with them while you're gone.
How to Hos t a Christmas Party With an Anxious Dog
It can be difficult to welcome guests with an anxious dog, but it's not impossible. Sometimes, the best thing to do for your furbaby and your guests is to move your pup to a separate area where they can calm down and relax with toys or rest in a cozy bed.
If your furbaby feels comfortable in a crate, place the crate in a peaceful room, so they have a safe, secure place to go and keep an eye on your pup with Furbo. You might give them relaxing dog treats made with lavender or chamomile to help them stay calm and make sure they get plenty of exercise before the party.
Buy Furbo Dog Camera Today
As a pawrent, you want your furbaby to be part of the holiday celebration, but it's not always possible or best for them to partake. You may have to leave your furbaby home alone to go shopping or visit relatives, or you might need to keep them separate from guests. Furbo enables you to enjoy the holidays with peace of mind because you'll know your furbaby is safe and happy whether they are in the other room or at home while you're away. With Furbo, you can spend the holidays together no matter what the situation is, and everyone wins. To prepare for a joyous holiday season, purchase a Furbo Dog Camera today.