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Is Your Dog Ready to Welcome Holiday Guests?

Preparing Villager Dogs for Welcoming Holiday Family and Friends Guests The December holidays are busy times for many Villager residents with family and friends coming for visits for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years.

Visitors and Your Dog in The Villages, FL.

These visitors, children and grandchildren and special happenings may affect the Villager’s family dog. Your normally well behaved dog living in a Villages household with no children may become disrupted when children and grandchildren come to visit. The guests’ excitement may raise the energy level in the house, causing the dog to become worried or stressed. Some dogs may like the change of number of people in the Villager’s home while others may find it both confusing and stressful. Your normally behaved dog may begin to exhibit unusual behaviors from jumping up on people, stealing food and even growling or snapping at visiting friends and family members. Here are some suggestions if your dog does not cope well with visiting children and grandchildren. You could hire a dog trainer to help you get control of your dog. One area dog trainer, Neal Kimball, the Good Dog Trainer, (www.gooddogtrainingvillage.com) can help you get in control of your dog prior to the holidays. Kimball has some ideas for you to consider. “As your dog’s human pack leader, alpha, master, boss mom/dad you need to communicate and demonstrate to your dog that while his world may be different during the holidays, you will continue to keep him safe and secure. A well-socialized dog is comfortable meeting and being with others during the holidays, both dogs and guests.” Neal can introduce to a variety of situations and help you stay safe through them all. Kimball can work and teach your dog to sit and stay on command. Kimball recommends supervising holiday guests, especially very young children and dogs when they are alone or together. With a very young grandchildren, grandparents must actively monitor their guest’s interactions with your dog. Villager grandparents should teach children of all ages to treat dogs with control, respect and gentleness. Some tips can help to calm your dog and keep everyone in the home safe during the active holiday season. Do not invite grandchildren to feed the dog by hand because it teaches the dog it is acceptable to take any food from a child. The grandchild's small size may encourage a dog to view him as an equal and thus may try to take advantage of the situation. Dogs also need to have their own place where they feel secure and calm. If your dog doesn't already have a place of his own, create one and employ a crate to provide a natural safe environment for your dog. If your dog begins to bark or nip at Villager guests, remove dog from the area and keep him in his safe place. Dogs may get underfoot of your visitors and become a trip hazard. Keep the dog out of certain rooms where they can get underfoot. Teach your grandchildren to be respectful of your dog. Help your dog be calmer by exercising them prior to the arrival of guests. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, your dog will more likely be relaxed or want to nap. Be mindful when family dog greets unfamiliar guests because commotion and unusual circumstances can cause stress for some dogs. You may have to put your dog on a leash as Villager holiday guests arrive to maintain better control. If your dog gets overly excited with arriving guests, remove them from the scene ahead of time. Place the dog in their crate in a quiet room and then let the dog join the party later. By anticipating how your dog may react to new activities and visitors, you can help ensure that everyone has a fun and safe holiday season. Happy Family, Friends and Doggie Holidays!

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