Dear Miss Behavin’:

We will be having close family over this year for the Thanksgiving holiday.  This will be our pups first family gathering, what are some things we can do to ensure that the gathering goes well and he is on his best behavior? 

What a great question as so many families have recently added new members to their household and this will most likely their first holiday gathering.  There are a few things you can do with your pup to ensure that he is on his best behavior.

If he begs during mealtimes, I would teach the cue ‘place’ or ‘go to mat’ for mealtimes.  You will be able to give him a place to go during the meal so that he can’t practice the unwanted behavior.  You can teach this by reinforcing him anytime he is lying on his bed or mat.  You can train this by reinforcing him for stepping onto the mat and work up to having him lie down on the mat for a period of time.  You will want to occasionally reinforce him for remaining there during your mealtimes too.

If your pup loves to greet your guests by jumping on them, you can teach him to offer a ‘sit’ for attention from guests or family members.  Having him on leash will help you have better control of him and prevent him running around the guests and jumping from multiple sides.  Keeping a small treat jar close by will make it easy to reinforce desired behaviors.

Make sure that your pup has been properly exercised shortly before guests are to arrive so that he will be tired and not have excessive amounts of energy.

You can also give a stuffed Kong or other type of food dispensing toy to occupy him during arrival and meal time.

We are also currently offering in-person classes and consults; you can view the current schedule of classes on our website or contact our Behavior Department.

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