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Tips for Visiting Others' Homes with Your Dog

When visiting others’ homes with your dog, follow these tips.

It's fun to take your dog to get-togethers and visits with your family and friends. However, there are some things you need to know and teach your dog before you do so.

House-Training Might Slip

Even if your dog is entirely house-trained at your house and doesn't have accidents, don't assume she'll be the same way at someone else's home. Remember that you've trained your dog specifically for your house, and she might not understand that all houses have the same rules.

When you visit someone else's house with your dog, be vigilant. Treat your dog as though she is still being house-trained until she's proven she understands she's not supposed to be going in this house either. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Take your dog outside when you first arrive at the new house and give her the command you use for getting her to go.
  • Give your dog lots of praise and a treat for going outside.
  • Make sure you take your dog out right away after she eats or drinks in the visited home, and praise her for going outside when she does so.
  • Take your dog out often, like you did when she was first potty training at your house.

Train Your Dog Not to Jump on People

If you're going to take your dog to parties and for visits to other people's homes, it's a great idea to first teach her not to jump on people. While it might be fine with the people in your home to have the dog jumping up to say hi, it might be quite bothersome or even dangerous to other people. For instance, someone whose skin is easily scratched and who might be at high risk for contracting infections, like an elderly or immune-compromised person, won't appreciate a dog jumping on their legs. Also, a dog that jumps might knock over and injure or scare small children.

If your dog has a tendency to jump on people, spend some time training her not to before you start taking her to others' homes. You can do that by teaching her to sit and wait for attention when she encounters new people. Take a look at this article for a step-by-step guide on how to do that: "How to Stop Your Dog from Jumping on People."

Work on Curbing Begging Behavior

If your dog has a begging habit, you'll want to curtail that before routinely taking her to other people's houses or parties and get-togethers. People who don't have dogs or whose dogs don't beg for human food might be upset by a dog that does beg.

You can help your dog learn not to beg by avoiding giving her human food. Try to time her dog food meals for when you are eating your meals, so she feels like part of the pack. You can learn more specific ways to deter begging behavior here: "Dog Begging Behavior."

Make Sure Your Dog Knows "Sit" and "Come"

The two most important commands your dog needs to know before you start taking her other places routinely are "sit" and "come." If your dog responds reliably to those commands, you will have much more control over her when she gets excited by new situations and people.

Clicker training is a great way to teach your dog to respond to commands, and once she knows what it means, you can take the clicker with you when you go to others' houses. That way, you'll be able to more quickly let your dog know when she's doing the right thing. It doesn't hurt to have some treats in your pocket.

Take a leash and collar or harness with you when you visit people or take your dog to parties. Remember that you can put her on the leash to gain more control or help her calm down anytime, even inside the house.

You can find more information on training your dog to respond to these two critical commands here: "How to Teach Your Dog to Sit" and "Teaching Your Dog to Come."

Consider Using Soft Paws®

When you are visiting someone's home with your dog, consider putting Soft Paws® nail caps on her before you go. These vinyl caps are applied to your dog's claws with non-toxic adhesive, and they can help prevent damage to your host's home and furniture. When your dog's excited or nervous, she might accidentally scratch the floor or purposely scratch at a door frame or carpeting. Soft Paws® can help minimize any damage your dog's claws might inadvertently cause.

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