Socialization can make a huge difference when it comes to owning pets. The more your pet has been around other animals and humans, the more likely they are to be calm and welcoming to others, especially during the holiday season. Whether you are hosting a holiday party at your house or bringing your four-legged friend along on a family vacation, it is important to make sure they are comfortable around strangers. Here are some quick tips to ensure your pet is comfortable around the chaos the holiday season brings.
Remember, you are in control
While it might seem like your cat or dog is the head of the household, you have to remember you are the owner. For both cats and dogs, it is best to keep them close to you when in a room full of large people. Keeping your dog on a leash is also a great way to maintain control of them, keeping them from jumping on people who come in the door. It is also important to recognize when your pet is misbehaving and correct those behaviors so they understand what is and isn’t appropriate.
Don’t forget the treats
Rewards are even more important when your pet is out of their comfort zone because it will help them associate the experience with something positive, such as their favorite treat or praise from you. When they let someone pet them or approach someone without fear, reward them for their behavior. Whether they prefer Supreme Source treats or just a simple pat on the back, make sure to let them know when they have been good.
Don’t force them to adapt
Some dogs and cats need more time to get used to being around strangers. Rushing your pet into being comfortable in a group can do more harm than good, as it can make them associate other humans and pets with the feeling of fear. Instead of throwing your pet into a scenario where there are many new people and animals, try to introduce them to one or two strangers in a calm environment first. This will help them get used to being around others before your house fills up for the holidays.
Give them space
After some time, your pet might become overwhelmed with the crowd and will benefit from a chance to get away. Designate a room, away from the crowd, as a safe space for your pet to go to be alone and put their toys and bedding in the room so they are comfortable. It will give them a chance to destress and avoid becoming too anxious.
Introducing your pet to new people and animals can be a positive experience, but it is important to keep the feelings of your pet in mind. If your pet is easily overwhelmed, it may be best to keep them out of large groups of people. Use your best judgement and you are sure to have a positive, pet-friendly holiday season.