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08 November 2011

Train your dog for holiday gatherings

If you typically go everywhere with your dog, it's no wonder you want to bring your best pal with you on holiday visits. Here's how to prep them for the experience.

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By The Dog Daily Expert for The Dog Daily

Our dogs can make every day feel like a holiday, given their playfulness, puppy-at-heart good natures, and satisfaction with just being by our side. And if you typically go everywhere with your dog, it’s no wonder you want to bring your best pal with you on holiday visits.

Charlotte Reed, author of The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette: The Definitive Guide to Manners for Pets and Their People, points out that not all dogs - or destinations - make such visits possible. Some people love dogs but don’t want them as visitors. Other friends and family members may suffer from pet allergies. And the reality may be that even though you love and understand your dog, your pet could be aggressive around others, not be properly housebroken, bark when lonely, or be a destructive chewer.

But assuming that your hosts are receptive to dogs and that your pet is well-behaved, Reed advises that you:

  • Do your homework. Investigate nearby kennels and pet sitters close to your host's home, just in case things don't work out as you planned and you need a plan B.
  • Talk with your host ahead of time about your dog. Address any potential problems, such as issues involving your host's children and pets, furniture concerns, dog bathroom issues and more.
  • Come well-prepared. Items to bring include food, your dog's crate or puppy gate, toys, bowls, a plastic place mat, a sheet or blanket, an odour eliminator and a stain-removal product.
  • Make your dog feel at home. Transition your pet to the new environment by unpacking and organising the items you brought and creating a safe haven for your dog. Introduce your pet to any other animals in the household as soon as possible, closely monitoring their interactions.
  • Stick to a regular schedule. Pets find comfort in routine and still need your attention. Although you will be busy, balance your activities so that you are doing what you would normally do together at home. You might have to adjust feeding and walking times, but with a little extra work and planning, both you and your dog should be able to enjoy a fun visit.
 
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