The holidays are a stressful time, for humans and their pets. There are potentially hazardous food and plants and new things that aren’t always around at other times of year, including family and friends visiting for the holidays. To prepare your dog for a successful holiday there are a few great commands you can practice now in order to keep fido out of trouble when people arrive.
Note: Be sure to work hard on these commands prior to the big day. Once learned, the behaviors need to be practiced around distractions similar to those they will be experiencing during your holiday party (excited people). It can be a challenge, but it is possible! 🙂
Go to your bed – This is one of my favorite commands. It sends your dog to a place (typically a bed or blanket) where he or she should stay until released. Its usually a good idea to give your dog something to do while staying there (stuffed kong or bone – granted they do not guard their resources) so that moving from that spot is a little less tempting. You will have to practice this often and with company around prior to the big day, but with some consistency you will get there.
Leave it – This is a command every dog should know and will help your dog practice impulse control and stay out of trouble! The key to teaching this command is to reward your dog for leaving things alone.
Out – The out command can be taught to keep your dog out of specific rooms, typically the kitchen or dining area during the holidays. It is important that you always reinforce the out command once you have given the command. Be sure that you give your dog a release, so they know when they can once again enter that particular area.
Polite Greetings – Some dogs find practicing polite greetings very difficult. These are usually the most friendly and happy of dogs that just don’t know how to control their enthusiasm. Polite greetings must be practiced on a regular basis. Typically teaching a dog to sit for all attention is a good start as well as being sure to not allow them to practice jumping up (leash your dog for greetings).