Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do You REALLY Need To Bring Fideaux To The Fambly Gathering?

From the blog-site, The Other End Leash:
Trainers and behaviorists can all tell stories about the calls they get around the holidays. Those of you who are trainers can no doubt tell some of your own. (I’d love to hear them!) Not uncommonly, we hear “Aunt Polly is coming tomorrow and she hates dogs and I have seven of them and they’ve never been alone in a room or in a crate and I can’t board them and I was wondering if you could tell me what to do.” (Answer: Pack dogs into car, drive elsewhere, leave note on front door for Aunt Polly that you’ve been abducted by aliens?)

From the other side of the equation, I’ve heard lots of dog lovers struggle over what to do when company comes and their dog doesn’t do well with visitors. One holiday season, years ago, I had five “do I have to kill my dog cases?,” all serious bites to visitors, on December 23rd and 24th. So sad.

Here’s my generic advice about holidays and dogs and visitors. I’d love to hear what solutions you’ve come up with for yourself or advised for others....

In general:
Start carefully (dog in crate when visitors enter?),

Observe carefully (watch interactions like a hawk at first),

Manage obsessively (know your dog and minimize the potential of any problems),

Give everyone a break (why not crate Fido up after an hour with the guests? why wait until after he’s tired?) Note that MANY of the cases I’ve seen have occured after the dog has been with the ‘kids’ or company all day, is tired and finally snaps/bites at the end of the day. Being an introvert (truly), I can sympathize. I love company and being with people, but I get tired after hours of it and need to go to my crate so that I don’t get cranky and bite someone.
This probably sounds excessive, but a dear dear friend just had his beloved dog bite a guest (equally beloved) during Thanksgiving dinner. “Why didn’t I put her in her crate?” he asked, after the bite and the trauma. “Because you’re an optimist and not a prof’l trainer” I said, but in the future, management is going to have to be Job #1 in his treatment plan. This kind of management becomes second nature to trainers, doesn’t it? But we had to learn it, and anything we can do to let people know that it’s OKAY to separate dogs and guests sometimes, the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment