The holidays are almost upon us again. Looking through the stores and newspaper sale ads, it is abundantly clear. This also means visitors, parties and entertaining. Are your four-footed (FF) Best Friends up to it. We have found no matter how well adjusted our friends are, they tap into that energy, excitement and hyper-holiday mood.
We want everyone to have a nice time and enjoy the time spent in our home. We can prepare for ourselves. We know when people are coming over and how long they will stay, who they are. However, our FF Best Friends do not – they simply know that something is up and their Best Friends are happy.
Usually we have some food and beverage when we entertain. And of course, if our FF Best Friends have the run of the party they will also probably be inticed to have some food and beverage (You know how that works, a plate left on the floor by the sofa, a drink glass left on the end-table, a crumb or candy dropped by the table). Usually, this part of the entertaining is for the two footed friends and what is being served is not for our four footed Best Friends consumption. Not to mention, the accidental, food and beverage from a misplaced dish or glass.
Everyone views having their FF Best Friends involved in the holiday festivities differently. Some of us tend to minimize the amount of time our FF Best Friends have with guests. Therefore, minimizing the time allowed for accidents and mishaps. However, there is the the arrival and departure of guests, with door bells, new voices, new smells for our FF Best Friends. This usually brings on some barking or at least additional noise, sometimes with odds sounds coming from the garage (you know that odd sound coming from a kenneled pet).
There are some tricks to bring about a more fun time for all, when advance planning is applied.
1. Make sure your FF Best Friend has had a bath and is neat and smells good. Even if your FF Best Friend is not attending you will be happy this was part of your pre-planning (wet pet odor is not that inviting).
2. Start now (this weekend) on sprucing up those manners. We all are a little lacking in sticking to the manners when it is just us around the house. So, some manners just need to be refreshed. Lets say, when the door is knocked on or the door bell rings our FF Best Friend barks repeatedly. This is easily taken care of this weekend with just a little work. Find a can or soda can size, put some pennies in it or loose change, say thirty to eighty cents, and close the opening. Have this can very handy and every time someone comes to the door and the FF Best Friend barks, shake the can vigorously. As soon as the FF Best Friend stops barking, you stop shaking the can and praise them immediately. Continue doing this each time and by the end of the weekend your FF Best Friend will have the idea. When they run to the door without barking praise them immediately.
3. Jumping up is a lesson learned in Obedience Class when you started training. Just revert back to that training. However, you should start now, for a more relaxed holiday season.
4. Some of us kennel our FF Best Friends. If this is your plan, work on kennel manners now. Be sure there is fresh water and you have walked your FF Best Friend within the hour before kenneling. Now make sure the kennel is away from all the festivities. However, remember to check on and praise your FF Best Friend several times during the party. It is hard to be left out (and there is all that food). Whining and scratching in the kennel should be dealt with immediately. And I am sure you will remember this from Obedience Training and pet safety.
5. If your FF Best Friend is out among the guests, be sure that food and beverages are picked up quickly, place with multiple trash containers around the area. Keep and eye on your FF Best Friend or have someone designated to do so. Many of these foods and beverages can be very bad for the health of your friend. Be sure to have the Animal Poison Control number posted close to a telephone.
Our FF Best Friends want to have a festive holiday season with all the excitement that we do. I hope that you all have a Wonderful Holiday Season and enjoy every minute of it.