What To Expect When You Have Pets and Company Is Coming

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The most important thing to remember when you’re expecting visitors, is to make sure you let them know you have a pet in the house—especially if they are uncomfortable around pets, are fearful or have allergies.

Remember that even though you know your pet well and have become comfortable around him, your guests may not be comfortable and could be quite agitated if they perceive your pet is dangerous. A pet should not be present if the guests are afraid of him.

Before their arrival

  • If your dog, for example, has reacted aggressively to visitors before or is fearful of strangers or your guests are frightened of him, it is imperative to keep him in a separate room, crate or outside. The room should have a comfortable place for him to sleep, water bowl, food and toys.
  • Reassure your guests that your dog is well-behaved. However, let them know if he has a ferocious bark and to expect it at the front door.
  • For guests with allergies, tell them beforehand what the pet’s breed is and whether he sheds. Thorough vacuuming and cleaning may also be needed to pick up pet dander.

Once they’re here

  • If appropriate, ask your guests if they’d like a treat to give to your dog, offering it flat from the palm and letting your dog walk up on his own to take it.
  • Tell your guests not to stare directly into the eyes of your dog. This may be seen as a challenge.
  • Have your guests greet your dog by holding a hand out to be sniffed, with the palm flat and upward.
  • If your pet’s demeanor allows for petting, ask your guests to avoid touching the top of his head. Dogs might see this as a sign of dominance. Your guests should speak to your pet with a pleasant voice; dogs can sense both fear and confidence in a person and his reaction will be based on this.
  • Pets should be discouraged from barking, loud meowing or jumping on your guests.
  • Begging should not be tolerated and your guests should not feed your pet anything unless you say it’s OK.
  • Children of your guests should not play rough or chase your pet because they may be putting him or themselves in harm’s way.
  • Do not let your guests pick up or cuddle with your pet if he doesn’t like this kind of attention.
  • If your pet prefers his own quiet space, keep your guests away from that area.

Consult with your veterinarian or trainer/behaviorist for additional advice on how to ensure your pet and your guests have a pleasant visit together.