President Obama’s dog Sunny…being a dog.

President Obama’s dog Sunny…being a dog.

I had to chuckle as I read the headlines highlighting Sunny’s doggie behavior.  I have a 1-½ year old large breed puppy and a 4 year old.  I know how easily excited dogs this age can become and how quickly they can knock a child over without meaning to.  Dogs this age are curious and easily excited.  They are young and still learning manners.  Large gathering with all ages and unfamiliar people paying attention can be hard for even the best socialized adult dogs.   

Why this made headline news is beyond me!  We expect way too much of our dogs sometimes and the beauty is that our dogs will be DOGS no matter how well known their owner is.    They don’t know the cameras are on and they are in the spotlight…they are just being dogs.    

Just some tips for large gatherings as we head to the holidays.

  1. Remember dogs that do not live with toddler size kids may not know how to behave around them appropriately.  Be ready with treats and your full attention to focus on appropriate behavior when in this situation.
  2. Crowds are exhausting for us so imagine being a dog!  New smells, different people touching you, food around and high energy of attention.  That is a lot to handle.  Give your dog BREAKS!   A date with a crate is GREAT!  Provide your dog with a frozen high value reward in their crate in a room away from the action.  White noise added can be great too!
  3. Know your dog.  What are they sensitive to?  Little girls have bows and ribbons on dresses during the holidays.  Some dogs are very excited about these items. 
  4. Become familiar with dog body language!  All dog owners will be amazed by how much they can help their dog by learning more!
  5. Assign one adult to the dog.  That person must be dedicated to the dog only.  Not distracted.  Remember…it is not just about the dog’s behavior but also about comfort level of the dog and guests.  Some guests won’t appreciate the dog and some will interact in an uncomfortable way for your dog.  Be an advocate for your dog and stay aware of all interaction.

I am glad no one was hurt but also think that this was silly to hit the media.  I am grateful to have a nice topic to blog about!  J

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