It can be fun and exciting to have family and friends over to visit, however this can be disruptive to a dog’s daily routine. Dogs are very content following the same schedule every day, and this consistency provides them with stability and comfort. While some dogs enjoy the interaction with new people, for others it can make them uneasy. This feeling of discomfort can lead to some undesirable behaviours.
There many things that you can do to help your dog feel calm and at ease in the presence of visitors. See the following tips.
Plug in an Adaptil Diffuser in the room where your dog spends the most time, 24 hours prior to your visitors arriving, particularily if they will be staying for an extended visit.
Alternatively, an Adaptil Collar may be fitted on the dog if the dog will be spending some of the time the visitors are present outdoors.
Exercise your dog by going for a walk or playing fetch with them before the visitors are scheduled to arrive. This will help your dog feel calmer and more settled.
Ensure your dog has access to their “safe” place, such as their dog bed, a crate or a room where they feel comfortable, while the visitors are present. Apply Adaptil Spray to the item or area for additional support. Re-spray as needed every 4-5 hours. Adaptil Spray alone may be sufficient if the guests will be vising for a short time.
If your dog will be staying in a separate room while the visitors are present, turn on a TV or radio to help cover the noise of the visitors.
Take your dog outside regularly to eliminate and have a bit of a break.
Reward positive behaviour and ignore negative behaviour. Do not punish your dog for demonstrating signs of stress.
Your visitors may also not be aware of how to react to these behaviours. Often people will attempt to force a dog to interact when the dog is feeling unsure or frightened, and this can lead to more serious stress related-behaviour such as growling or attempting to bite.
Speaking to your visitors prior to their arrival and helping them understand how to respond to your dog can help your dog feel more at ease with the new people in his environment. Following these tips can ensure that both the dog and the guests are comfortable and enjoying themselves.
Encourage your visitors to ignore your dog until the dog feels comfortable enough to approach the visitor on their own.
Do not stare into the dog’s eyes – this can be seen by the dog as a challenge or a sign of dominance.
Have your visitor speak in soft, gentle tones to the dog, and have them use the dog’s name.
Provide your visitors with your dog’s favourite treat, so when the dog approaches calmly they can be rewarded.
Ask your visitors not to force interaction. Do not chase the dog or attempt to sneak up on the dog.
Keep in mind that children are often excited when visiting friends and family, and may need regular, gentle reminders on how to behave around dogs. It is not recommended to leave children and dogs together unsupervised.