If you’re a brave hostess who is welcoming your Aunt Sue and her St. Bernard sidekick into your home for the Thanksgiving holiday, take some time to clear the coast. Are there fragile objects on the coffee table that a wagging tail could send crashing? A candy bowl full of tempting (but poisonous to dogs) chocolate? A carving board sitting a little to close to the edge of the kitchen counter? Open doors providing access to a laundry basket full of wonderfully smelly socks? An ounce of prevention can preclude a pound of damage when it comes to naturally curious dogs.
If you have a pet, you probably have a good sense of how it will react to canine visitors. But even if yours is the friendliest dog (or cat) in the world, it’s best to have a plan in place for separating her from the newcomer. Some dogs become suddenly territorial or protective when a strange canine enters their home, and the last thing you want is a fight. Meeting on neutral territory before coming into the house is a good way to defuse territorial tensions.
What if the visiting dog exhibits horribly bad manners in spite of its owner’s best intentions? You don’t want to spend this special day scolding someone else’s pet—or listening to the owner make constant corrections. A rawhide bone or chew toy is a good tool for diverting and holding a dog’s attention, so it can pay to have some on hand. And dogs, just like unruly children, dogs sometimes need to chill out—in a car, in a crate, in a quiet room—for a time-out or a nap. Don’t be afraid to suggest it.
Then again, maybe the obligatory after-feast football game will have as sedentary an effect on Fido as it does on you, and you’ll all snooze through it off together. Touchdown! Photo: Rowan makes a friend - Neal Foley, CC