Entering a new environment can be stressful for Guest pups, especially during the holidays when they are likely exposed to so many new sounds, smells, and faces. As you introduce your Guest pups to your human visitors, follow these four tips to keep your Guest dogs calm and everyone safe!
1. Discuss Visitors With Your Guest
Every dog is different, and each Guest knows their dog best. For instance, rescue dogs can sometimes be triggered by certain people who remind them of previous owners. Before their Vacay, be sure to discuss with your Guests how their dog tends to react to new people and environments. They may have tips on how to best introduce their dog - both to human visitors and to other dogs. Be transparent about the number of dogs that will be in your care as well as any anticipated human visitors.
2. Tell Your Visitors About Guest Dogs
Always let your human visitors know ahead of time that you will have Guest dogs in your home. Not everyone is as experienced or comfortable with dogs, especially dogs they don't know. Be especially sure to discuss tips 3 and 4 with your visitors before they arrive.
3. Have Slow, Calm Introductions
Sometimes your human visitors will be excited to meet your Guest dogs and the natural tendency can be to immediately begin playing. If a Guest dog is feeling anxious, this will only make the situation worse and could even lead to aggression. The safest introductions happen slowly and calmly. Leash your Guest dog and approach your visitor slowly. Reward good behaviors with verbal praise, gentle petting, and treats. Never force an introduction.
4. Watch the Door
While you are used to entering and exiting your home with Guest dogs inside, your human visitors may not be so cautious. Make sure they understand not to open the door with a Guest dog nearby, as anxious dogs will often try to bolt. Be aware of your Guest dogs' location at all times, and temporarily put them in another room if your door will be open for long periods of time - such as if you are helping your visitor to unload their car.