New Years Day Dog

How to Prepare Your Dog for Holiday Parties

The holiday season and all the parties that go with it are swiftly approaching. If you’re a dog owner who’s hosting a festive get-together, you may be cringing at the idea. Even though you love having friends and family fill your home, your dog’s behavior leaves something to be desired. Never fear — with some planning and preparation, you and your dog will be able to have the best time possible. Just remember that your idea of fun may be different than your dog’s idea of fun!

Here are 6 helpful tips to prepare your dog for holiday parties this year:

  1. Practice ahead of time. Have an informal gathering or two with a few easy-going friends to help your dog practice his manners. You can work on training your pooch to not jump up on guests, to stay off the furniture and people’s laps unless he’s invited, and to resist sneaking appetizers off plates and tables that happen to be at nose level.
  1. Give your dog a safe place to go. This is another thing you can work on ahead of time. You can set up a room to be a calm and quiet space for your dog to retreat to if the hustle and bustle becomes too much for her. Set up her crate or dog bed, put down a bowl of water, keep the lights dim and maybe turn on some soothing classical music. Teach her a cue phrase, such as “go to your spot” to train her to go here when you need her to not be underfoot.
  1. Invest in some distractions. You can keep your dog occupied with long-lasting dog chews or food puzzles — and you can keep these in his safe spot to make it an even more enticing retreat for him. You can also set out some bowls with a few dog treats or baskets of favorite dog toys for guests who can’t resist spreading holiday cheer to your pup. This is one bowl you won’t want to refill though, or your dog could get sick from too many treats.
  1. Turn off the doorbell. If your dog can’t help but bark every time the doorbell rings, turn it off and put a note on the front door that tells guest to let themselves into the house. This way, everyone’s stress levels stay nice and low.
  1. Keep a leash on your dog. You and your family also can make sure that your pooch doesn’t annoy guests by keeping her on a leash the whole time. You don’t necessarily have to hold onto it, but by keeping a short leash nearby, you can easily grab it if she can’t resist the allure of a buffet table or is tripping guests.
  1. Board your dog. If you have an especially nervous or mischievous dog, you may want to consider boarding him for the few days around your party. (We know just the place!) You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your dog is safe and with people who will take excellent care of him. No one will have to worry about him getting loose or snapping at strange children trying to hug him. And your pup will be having a great time playing and being showered with attention. For more information about our dog boarding program, visit our website.

We’d love to see pictures of your dog celebrating the holidays. We’ll make an album to share on our Facebook page when we get enough pictures!

If you need individualized training support as the holidays draw near, PetU offers 1 on 1 in-home training sessions that can help your pup get party-ready.  We can work with you and your dog to address any undesirable behaviors including jumping, barking, general manners, crate training or any other concerns you have.  To learn more, visit