Training your dog can seem like an arduous process, but it’s an incredibly rewarding one. A properly trained pup can be taken virtually anywhere animals are allowed, including family vacations, pet-friendly restaurants, and even your in-laws’ house (God willing). They may even be trusted to sleep in your bed without making a ruckus or having any accidents, thus reducing anxiety for all parties involved.
However, sticking to a training regimen is tough work. When life gets busy, taking time to train your pup can fall through the cracks, especially during holiday seasons or the summer. Coming off the Christmas holiday high you may have noticed your pup’s training progress took a hit. Between juggling holiday parties, shopping, and family get-togethers, training the family pet most likely fell low on the totem pole. But don’t worry! It’s a new year and there is new progress to be made.
One thing you may have learned over the holidays is how poorly your dog behaves around crowds, a common problem across dog families. In 2019, here is your first new skill to master: training your pup to behave around crowds. Check out these four tips to master your dog’s behavior around company for the holiday season next year.
1. Be Consistent
First and foremost, you must maintain consistency. This can be difficult to do, especially when you find yourself reuniting with loved ones and contending with the stresses of hosting. It is vitally important, however, that you enforce any rules you’ve already begun to lay down with your pet as well as those you’d like to eventually form. Remember that your dog requires consistency to learn, so it’s a bad idea to stray from this consistency even if guests are around.
2. Be Understanding
On another note, remember that your dog will likely find herself surrounded by a number of strangers when you host an event. That’s not a fun experience for any animal. Understand that it might take your some time to come out of her shell and acclimate to the new environment. Be kind and patient with her. Anger will only reinforce your dog’s initial impression of fear toward the crowd.
3. Be Positive
It’s tempting to yell at a misbehaving animal, but the fact of the matter is that positive reinforcement is the most effective way to train your dog. In this instance, that’s actually pretty fortunate! Training your pup with positive reinforcement means that you won’t make things awkward around your guests by loudly scolding your dog. Reward your dog well when she behaves well and remember to be consistent about it.
4. Move Slowly
Finally, make sure that your expectations for your pet are reasonable. Hosting is a stressful job, and you typically have the advantage of at least knowing the people around you. Don’t expect your pet to learn new things on the fly and don’t try to introduce too many new rules at once. It’s also important to have a specific room that is off-limits to guests where your dog can unwind in a quiet and people-free environment.
Ready to start training your dog? The tips above should give you a good foundation from which to start. Good luck!
Lisa is a freelance writer from North Carolina who works regularly with Mattress Advisor writing reviews. Although she writes about sleep most of the time, there is nothing more she loves than spending time with her pup and teaching others what she has learned over the years about being a good dog mom.