Four-legged visitors don’t need a place at the Thanksgiving table, but they certainly need an invitation, so be sure to ask. If you get the green light, thank your hostess profusely and start paving the way for a seamless visit by asking a few questions.
—Are there other pets in the home? If your hosts have a dog that hasn’t previously met yours, it might be best to introduce them on neutral territory (a nearby park, for example) before turning them loose to play. Let them sniff each other, watch their body language and take your clues from there.
—Is there a fenced back yard where your pet can safely be confined? If so, check it carefully for hazards before letting your dog run free, keep a watchful eye and remember to clean up any waste.
—Are the children, if any, accustomed to dogs? Is your dog accustomed to children? Be prepared to supervise, regardless. Tragic things can happen if you don’t.
—What about cats? Have a plan, not a disaster.
No matter what the situation, a new environment infused with delicious aromas is sure to cause Callie to go a little crazy. Even if she hasn’t jumped up on a counter or urinated indoors since her puppy days, she might do so in a strange house with lots of unfamiliar sounds, smells and humans. The way to ensure she’s a perfect canine guest is to keep her under control at all times. If she won’t settle down, take her for a walk, leash her by your side, kennel her in a crate or have her take a calming time-out in the car. Setting high standards of behavior for your dog when visiting someone else’s home is a good way to be invited back.