A number of Covid restrictions have now been lifted and many of us are starting to think about getting together with family and friends for social gatherings.
That being said, how is your four legged furry family member going to react? It seems that a lot of people who have adopted pets during Covid have not properly socialized their pets and, in some cases, these pups have not seen or met many people outside of their immediate family. In this case, you may find your pup acting out when someone new arrives at your home.
After talking to several people, it seems one of the biggest problems in having folks showing up at your door is their pup barking excessively and, at times, showing some aggression. This is usually caused by fear in your pup due to the fact that they have not seen many people come into the home and seem to think they need to “protect” their territory. Your pup may not be aggressive, but anyone that is not used to dogs may feel threatened and fearful and this will be relayed to your pup very quickly. This is especially the case when you have a large, intimidating looking dog.
When you are expecting company, it would be a good idea to have your pets contained in an area of the home away from the front door. They should either be crated or secured behind a gate or door. If you do this, your pup will not be able to dart out a door or lunge at your guests.
If you feel that your pup is a “barker” and will consistently bark when someone new is in your home, you may want to consider investing in a “Bark Collar” or a sonic device which will deter your pup from excessive barking.
If your pup is extremely nervous of other people, you should try having your guests park a few houses away and meet them on the street and, with your pup on a leash, go for a short walk with them. This way your pup will see that you are comfortable with these people and will feel more at ease. When you get back to your home, allow your guests to go into the house first and have a seat, and then bring your pup in to meet them again inside. You may want to give your guests a couple of small treats to give your pup, just to break the ice and relieve any tension felt by your furry friend.
Ask your guests to remain seated and ignore the dog and not attempt to pet him. Then, let the dog go to them on his own terms. This will help your pup feel less threatened and he should settle down more quickly.
If you plan on sharing a meal with your guests, be sure that your pup is safe in his crate during dinner with a Kong or other toy to distract him. This will eliminate any cause for worry if someone accidently drops some food on the floor or suddenly gets up from the table. If your pup is nervous of new people or is food aggressive, it’s better that he’s secured and everyone will be safe.
Also, if you plan on having anyone over to your home and there are children involved, please make sure that your pet is adequately contained in a crate or behind a barrier. Pets that are not used to children, especially toddlers, may not always react in a positive manner.
So roll out the red carpet, fire up the BBQ, and enjoy some social time with others. Cheers!!