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Teaching Holiday Manners
Have a few annoying issues you need to sort out with your pet before the entertainment rush begins? Nadia Crighton looks at the top behavioural problems associated with pets and some simple solutions.
Wanting to entertain but slightly embarrassed by your pet’s problems? From excessive drooling, begging and jumping, we look at some simple remedies to get your pooch’s manners up to scratch.
This needs to be tackled now. If your dog is a jumper this can cause you a little grief when people are around, particularly if you own a large dog. Smaller dogs can also cause anxiety in children if they persistently jump, so it’s best to solve this issue a few weeks in advance of your party. Allowing your dog to jump up on people is not good doggy etiquette and for many ‘non-dog owners’ it’s highly annoying. In a perfect world this would be remedied from day one when your dog is a pup. If you do have a pup…remember the golden rule… affection for a jumping pup. They learn very quickly that the behviour will not get them attention and it will save you much work down the track. For the older dog you can reduce the jumping with some simple training.
- Have some treats handy (a selection in your pocket)
- Walk into the room where your dog (normally best after you have left the home so keep a stash of treats at the back door or garage).
- Once they start jumping turn your back saying; “ah ah sit”. Keep turning your back on your dog.
- Keep doing this until your dog stops jumping and sits.
- Quickly praise or use a clicker (good boy)
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
- ONLY praise / pat / give affection to your dog when they are NOT jumping.
- Remember no excuses, never permit your dog to jump up on people or yourself.
- When guests arrive ask your dog to sit and praise.
- Ask your guests to greet your dog only when your dog is sitting. NO PATS FOR JUMPING DOGS.
- Remember it takes patience and persistence…don’t give up.
There can be nothing more embarrassing than a dog walking around your home excessively drooling as your guests enjoy their canapés. Well…OK for most of us it’s just finger food, but the constant drooling dog is still not a very attractive sight. Especially when he leans in for a cuddle with Aunt Jan and leaves a big wet patch on her special Christmas dress! The most common cause of excessive drooling is food. Having so many scent receptors it’s no surprise that the Christmas turkey cooking in the oven it smells like pure drooling heaven to a dog. So what can you do about it during the nights entertaining? First up; if you dog is not normally a drooler and suddenly begins please pop to your vet to rule out any problems as it can be a sign of dental issues, nausea or a foreign object lodged in the mouth – like a stick.
Now you must face the fact…you won’t be able to stop your dog from drooling but you can put some things in place so the sight of Rovers slobber does not greet your guests at the door.
- Leave your dog outside or away from the party until all the food is consumed.
- Have a special area (like a laundry) packed with a comfortable bed, some soft music, raw bones, water and toys.
- Keep your dog entertained with a big raw bone.
- Feed your dog before people arrive.
- Exercise your dog before people arrive.
It’s not an uncommon sight during the hustle and bustle of entertaining to catch the dog eye-balling Uncle Henry as he devours his mince-tart. Sometimes Rover is lying down, possibly drooling, or standing eye-to-eye with a sitting guest as they eat. If you do not want to put your dog in a ‘safe’ area consider teaching them to stay on their bed while people are eating, or at least know the command ‘bed’ so if they are becoming a nuisance they can be told they need to leave your guests alone in a polite way. Also consider having a ‘treat jar’ for your dog so if people want to treat your beloved pooch they can offer them a dog-friendly morsel. Remember that many dogs becoming seriously ill around this time of year from ingesting foods that a high in fat, sugar and other toxic ingredients (like chocolate, raisins and alcohol).
A BIT ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, three cats, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy, she simply adores pets of all shapes and sizes. These are her personal thoughts and advice from many years of pet-ownership.