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When your family comes to stay and brings their own dog!

Do you have a dog who isn’t keen on visitors?  And yet in recent months we are starting again to have our friends and family to visit.  And sometimes, they want to bring their own dog!  Aargh!

It can be really difficult to have visitors staying in your home when your dog reacts in a nervous or aggressive way, lots of barking, sometimes charging, even nipping at non-family members when they come in and then once in, even when they move!

And then sometimes your visitors might want to bring their own dog too.  Click here if you need the number to book a quick stay at the Priory (just kidding).  My first question to a household struggling with this scenario would be to ask whether the incoming family has any options to leave the dog with other friends or family so that you only have your own dog to manage, and you can concentrate on quality time with each other.  This certainly reduces the stress potential.  Because it’s hard with other dog people too… they will have their own habits with their own dog, which may or may not be appropriate for your dog, or your home.  

However, some people may not be able to make other arrangements for their dog but you are all still desperate to see each other, so here are my tips for helping integrate a visiting dog into your home:

  1. Mindset: everyone needs to understand that animals do not naturally stay in each others’ dens!  I know it can happen very nicely in our domestic world when the dogs are relaxed and they know each other, but it’s worth understanding it this way as it helps everyone stay calm with your dog who doesn’t generally like visitors.  
  2. When your guests arrive, I would recommend you ask them in advance to leave their dog in the car for a few extra minutes while the people get out, bring in their stuff, use the loo, are reminded to ignore your dog whatever he does.  
  3. Then they go and get their dog out of their car and walk away from your house for a minute or two.  Their dog will need to pee anyway and it’s always a good idea to have two dogs meet on neutral ground.
  4. You then bring your dog out on lead and walk to meet up with them, on lead of course.  
  5. If you have a few minutes, go for a short walk together, allowing the dogs to notice and sniff each other.  
  6. Then walk back to the house on lead, and go into the house together, keeping the dogs on lead until everyone is calm.  
  7. Make sure both dogs have their own respite area (own crate?) for when times get busier, or you feel either dog is not coping.  

This is the best way to bring another dog into the household.  Hopefully the dogs will be kindred spirits, love each other and all with be well.  So, prepare well, don’t just expect that dogs will always get on, and remember that leads are really useful to give the dogs guidance and calm everything down. 

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