“Petiquette” Lessons: How to Keep Your Pets Well-Mannered During the Holidays
A jam-packed season of holiday parties and travel means you'll want to make sure all members of your family -- pets included -- are on their best behavior. These tips will ensure your furry friend makes the best impression on holiday hosts and guests.
Problem: Jumping on People
An excited dog often pounces with joy when someone walks in the door. Besides being obnoxious, this behavior could easily cause the dog to hurt a child or an elderly person.
Solution: Positive Reinforcement
Start by using a leash or harness to practice with family several times each day, and then introduce visitors until the pet sits automatically for everyone. When it has all four feet on the floor, reward it with a treat and praise it profusely using its name. Alternatively, use a command such as "sit" while training, which gives the dog a specific action to maintain.
Dogs love food and are likely to whine, jump, and look at you longingly whenever it's present. This behavior is disruptive and can spread germs.
Never feed the dog from your plate, and ignore begging. Combine this with teaching the dog a "go to your place" command when you eat.
Problem: Unfamiliar Faces
Perhaps you have family and friends coming over for a holiday party. Guests may pose a problem if your pet is not a fan of strangers or is aggressive.
Solution: Create a Comforting Space
Set up a separate area of the house, well away from the crowd. The location should be comfortable, equipped with a bed, food, water, toys, and -- essential for cats -- a litter box.
Problem: Your Pet as the Guest
Even if your host agrees to put your dog up for a night or two, unwanted pet hair is never a welcome hostess gift.
Solution: Groom Before You Arrive
Having your pet groomed before you arrive will prevent unwanted shedding. When packing, include grooming tools for touch-ups.
When the Guests Are Gone...
Reward your pet for his or her good behavior with a fun toy or treat.