Successful Introductions When Visiting
Friends & Relatives
visiting friends and family, you may encounter
furry friends! Holidays are especially hectic for
both people and their pets; you will need to take
this into consideration when interacting with them.
When entering a home that has pets, plan on ignoring
the pets for the first few minutes. Some dogs will
gleefully jump on and around you. IGNORE the dog.
Do not look at them, talk to them, push them, or
scold them. Only once all 4 paws are on the floor
should you interact with them.
dog may be fearful or overwhelmed by the commotion
of the holidays. In this case you will also want
to ignore the dog and wait for them to approach
you. If the dog does come forward to greet you follow
- Turn to the side and avoid making direct eye contact.
- Crouch down to appear smaller and less threatening.
- Talk in a soft voice (not high pitch or squeaky),
and gently pat your thigh or leg to encourage
the dog to come over. You may put your hand out
for the dog to sniff.
- If the dog is still seeking attention you may
pet the dog UNDER the chin and on the chest. Avoid
patting on the head and along the back.
- If the
dog decides to leave, let them. Do not force any
of a fearful dog:
- Dog's body will be low to the ground.
- Ears are back or flat against their head.
- May be showing teeth.
- Stiff showing whites of eyes
wagging tail is not always a safe sign. If the dog
is barking loudly and wagging with a tail that is
straight up, proceed with caution. Never grab a
fleeing dog by its collar. You can easily startle
him and make them feel trapped. They may snap or
you are entertaining over the holidays,
your pet may not act in the same manner he would
with just the family. If you know your dog is nervous
or anxious with multiple people, set up a place
in the house where he can be safe and quiet and
where people will not be coming in and out. If you
have a very social dog, but who also forgets his
manners from time to time you may want to allow
him to visit initially but once more guest start
to arrive set him up in a quiet room with a stuffed
Kong or other interactive treat toy. If you do not
know how your dog will act always side with caution
and put them away, especially if there will be children
or other pets coming over. Even if your pet does
very well with parties, they should always have
the option to leave once they have had enough. Do
not force your dog to interact with your guests.
If you would
like to work with
a Wisconsin Humane Society behaviorist one-on-one
regarding this behavior topic, please call 414-431-6173
to schedule a consultation.