If your dog is on the guest list, have a game plan!
One of my students asked me to help her write an email to send to all the guests who RSVP’d “Yes” to her annual holiday extravaganza. Here's what I said...
Dear Holiday Party Guest,
We’re very excited that you can join us for our party. As you know, our dog “Daisy” will be attending the party as well, and we’d like her to have as good a time as we know you will. We’ll be supervising her interactions with everyone at all times, but here are a few suggestions that will help everyone accomplish that goal:
Please don’t greet her until she approaches you. She’s a bit shy, so she won’t respond as well to you if you stare at her, approach her quickly or reach your hand out towards her. Let her take her time to warm up to you, and if she doesn’t, please don’t take it personally.
Her leash will be on at all times so that we’re better able to control her. She’s not yet completed her obedience training, so if someone were to drop something on the floor that she wanted, she may try and grab it. In addition, if a door were left open, she may try to run outside. Stepping on the leash will allow everyone to keep her safe.
Please refrain from feeding her anything but the treats in the bowl labeled “Daisy”. There is one in the foyer, the kitchen and the main living area. You may ask her to “Sit”, and when she does, you may giver her a treat. Please understand that when the bowls are empty, she has reached her limit for treats for the night. We know you love her as much as we do, but she has a very sensitive stomach, and having to rush her to the animal emergency clinic at 2am is not something we want to do again.
If she jumps on you, please don’t pet her. Ask one of us for assistance and we will show you how we handle this (hint: it is not by yelling, pushing or kneeing her!)
Some of your children are coming to the party. Please don’t let them hug or put their face near Daisy.
Dogs generally don’t like this type of interaction as they feel restrained rather than loved.
Please respect her “crate time”. If you notice that Daisy isn’t walking around, she’s probably upstairs in our room, in her crate with a frozen stuffed Kong and with the TV on (the Cooking Channel if you must know). She doesn’t mean to be rude, but sometimes the chaos and excitement of the party is a too much for her. It would help us if you wouldn’t ask us to let her out, or ask if it’s “cruel” to keep her away from everyone. I’m sure you can relate as there have been times in your life that you wished you could just get away from it all and relax.
With a little planning and honest assessment of your dog’s personality, you can relax and enjoy your holiday gatherings knowing that you’ve kept your best friend’s best interests at the top of your “To Do”list.