It’s the way of the world that “like attracts like”. In the doggy world that means when you welcome a dog into your home, in what feels like an instant, you will have lots of friends with dogs!
There are times when you might need to lean on these new doggy pals – especially when life challenges (or holidays) get in the way of you being able to be there for your dog for a day or two. But us dog people stick together, so if someone has looked after your dog for a few days… you’ll definitely want to return the favour!
If it’s the first time you’re welcoming a doggy visitor into your own dog’s home, it’s worth getting prepped in advance. Here are our top tips for things to do, to make sure everyone has a good time.
BFFS or Foes?
If you’re not sure yet whether the dogs will get on, don’t leave this to chance. Do a trial run. Invite your friends over for a playdate with their dog first. This will give you an idea of whether or not the dogs are going to get along. If it is not a good match, don’t feel bad. It happens. Not every dog is going to get along. If we’re honest, we don’t like everyone we meet… so why should our dogs?
Walks are a great way of helping the dogs get to know each other and have some fun together. We always recommend meeting out on a walk first, before welcoming the other dog into your home. It means they’re meeting in a neutral space, with no important resources like their beds, toys, or food bowls around.
Doggy-proof your home.
If your dog is great in the house – with no bad habits – don’t assume the same of your guest. This means, firstly, putting away anything that might be tempting for a dog to chew. Dogs are curious creatures and will want to explore every nook and cranny when they first arrive.
Make sure you have all of your guest’s medical information, along with any medication they need. You should have any emergency numbers for contacting while their dog-parents are away – and an idea of things that could go wrong healthwise and what to do if the worst happens.
Doggy visitors need their own space. Create a place for them to sleep that is away from your dog’s own sleeping area. Create separate eating zones too – with food and water available away from your dog’s feeding area. Feeding separately is important so you don’t risk them getting competitive over food. All chews and food toys should also be given separately. If your guest doesn’t come with their own food and water bowls – we recommend getting a spare set of bowls for your guest… as some dogs can be fussy about eating and drinking from someone else’s bowl.
Your visitor may have a set daily schedule… which you should try and keep to as much as possible. This means if they are used to a morning and evening walk, or meals at a set time, try and keep consistent. It will help them to feel more relaxed and at home.
A Home from Home.
Items like toys and blankets can be important to our dogs. To help our guests feel at home, ask their guardian to bring some of their own things to play with and to sleep on. This means they have familiar smells from home to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
Embrace the experience!
Last but not least, have fun! Doggy visitors are a great way to add some fun social experiences for your dog. They’ll also hopefully enjoy the extra attention from their dog-pal. Just remember to ensure everyone’s needs are met – and your dog feels they are still no 1! – then everyone will have a good time.
If you’d like more help with getting ready for a visiting dog – check out trainer Claire’s #quicktiptuesday video on this subject over in our FREE Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/connectwithyourdog/posts/3033850706826514/.