The holidays are here, and the time for vacation, travel, and visitors is at hand. But, not all visitors are going to be peoples. We enjoy the company of our four-legged friends especially for the holidays. So what do you do when you have a pup in the house, and you’re expecting some visitors and even a few small children? Consider a few things to think about in preparation that both your pup and visitors need to address.

photoDogs are a pack oriented creature. Though you may have only one dog, you and the others in your household are a part of their pack. This usually means that you will not always see traits in your pup that reflect dominance over another person. When in a pack, there are certain levels of dominance, the lower having to be obedient to the superior. This is usually show through growling, showing their teeth, and ultimately putting their teeth on you (not necessarily biting, but it’s a sign that you’re pushing your luck).

Unfortunately for small children, especially a visitor, aggression and dominance can be fairly common amongst all sizes in dogs. I’ve seen any pup from a Chihuahua to Labrador that would usually be gentle with you, begin to show signs of dominance with someone new who is closer to their size.

What you need to do in preparation for small visitors, is understand how aggressive your pup is around others. If you think they should be fairly gentle, introductions should be taken in steps. When a group of people arrive, there’s bound to be a few small hands reaching out to try to pet or tug at your pup. Don’t let that happen. Take things slow. Start by preoccupying your pup with a meal in their own room or crate. When the visitors have settled in, bring your pup out and let them introduce themselves to everyone. With the smaller children, you’ll need to keep a continuous eye on them and make sure that your pup doesn’t push them down or start any growling. If you see it, immediately stop them and if you must, put them in their crate with their own toys. This will help show them that they are not dominant of the children.

It can be difficult to ensure that small children will always be safe around your dog, but you can take steps to help prevent any unnecessary aggression from occurring. With some precautions, you can ensure that everyone enjoys the holidays together.

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