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Dog training ideas for holiday parties and more

Note: This is a sponsored post. Read more to learn how you can win some dog treats from Zuke’s.

We all know the holidays can be a little, um, stressful. And if you’re having guests over or traveling, having a dog or two in the mix doesn’t make it any easier.

I thought I’d cover some tips for the “problem areas” as far as training over the holidays, and I hope you’ll share your tips as well.

This post is sponsored by Zuke’s treats, and at the end of this post I’ll be giving away some goodies! These treats seriously work so well for holding my dog’s attention. I highly recommend the Zuke’s mini naturals or the Z-filets.

Keeping your dog calm when visitors arrive

Always a problem, right?

One option is to keep your dog in another room when guests arrive, especially if the excitement is just too scary or stressful for your dog.

If you decide to keep your dog in another room, here are some tips:

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  • Give your dog a special treat so he feels special instead of “banished.” The Zuke’s Z-filets work great for stuffing into a Kong toy or other puzzle toy to keep your dog busy.
  • Give your dog plenty of exercise before visitors arrive such as an extra long hike that morning.
  • Put on some relaxing music for your dog and provide her with a comfy dog bed or blanket (OK, or your own bed!).

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Teach your dog to stay on his bed or “place”

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I really like teaching a dog to stay on his bed or in his “place” both when visitors arrive and while guests are just hanging out.

The main problem dog owners have with this is we don’t practice the concept enough at a “low lever” of difficulty.

For example, will the dog stay on her bed for five minutes when no one new is around? OK, good. Will she stay on her bed while you open the front door to greet an imaginary person? How about if your spouse rings the doorbell?

We all have this idea of ideal dog behavior, yet we don’t give our dogs the opportunity to learn such a behavior. It takes time. Like, weeks and months of practice.

Here are some tips for teaching your dog to stay on her bed:

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  • Practice in really easy scenarios and slowly increase the difficulty over time.
  • Reward your dog with highly valued treats for remaining on her bed (like the Zuke’s mini naturals, pictured above).
  • Work on “stay” in general in many challenging areas, slowly increasing the challenge.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of exercise the week leading up to your holiday party or gathering.
  • Don’t expect too much from your dog if you haven’t put in the training time.

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Good doggy manners during travel

I’m a dog lover, but I’m still shocked when I tell people they can bring their dogs over and then they allow their dogs to tear around my apartment off leash. That is way too much energy! I can only imagine how non-dog people feel when it happens to them.

Guys, if you’re allowed to bring your dog somewhere, keep your dog as calm as possible.

Here are some tips to help with that:

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  • Exercise, exercise, exercise! Noticing a theme?
  • Walk your dog for 20 minutes or so once you arrive at your destination. This will calm her nerves and give her time to relieve herself, which means no accidents.
  • Keep your dog leashed for at least 20 minutes once inside. This will prevent marking, drooling on furniture, possessiveness between dogs and just overall obnoxiousness.
  • Use an appropriate training collar that helps your dog stay calm. For Ace, a simple martingale collar would be best. A prong is just too dramatic looking, and he becomes a weirdo with his Gentle Leader on, constantly rubbing everything!
  • Encourage your dog to be calm and to stay on a dog bed or rug. Use treats like the Zuke’s mini naturals to reward calm behavior.

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I’m still horrified thinking about the time Ace ran into my parents’ basement and peed right on their indoor plant! Ahh! So embarrassing!

My point is, you just never know what a dog will do in a new place with lots of excitement.

More about Zuke’s and its dog treats

Zuke’s is dedicated to creating natural treats for dogs and cats that nourish an active lifestyle, according to its web site. The products are made with meat, grains, fruits, vegetables and oils.

The Zuke’s Mini Naturals are perfect for training and have only 3 calories each, according to Zuke’s. The Z-Filets (pictured below) are made with USA chicken or beef, or New Zealand venison.

Zukes Z-filets

A portion of all sales from Zuke’s goes to The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund, according to the company. This fund was created by the founder of Zuke’s and gives grants to people who need help paying for their pets’ cancer treatments. Zuke’s has donated more than $240,000 to the fund.

Would you like to win some Zuke’s treats for your dog?

Zuke’s is giving away a FREE bag of Mini Naturals to one lucky reader of That Mutt and a FREE bag of Z-Filets to a second reader.

To enter, just use the Rafflecopeter below. It’s easy to use and will ask you to log in using either an email address or Facebook. Must have a U.S. mailing address to win and be at least 18 years old.

For more information about Zuke’s, visit its web site here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Note: I received compensation and free products in exchange for writing about Zuke’s.

How do you keep your dog calm when visitors arrive?