When possible, dogs should not be allowed to greet visitors at the door. This is for the safety of your dog and your guests. Keep the dog in a separate room or crate until visitors are settled and then you may allow the dog to say hello if you feel it is an appropriate time. Try associating visitors with something good for the dog such as giving them a special treat after they arrive.

Dog owners should monitor their dog’s reaction to visitors. If the dog seems overly excited, barking, growling, cowering away, trying to hide or showing any other signs of anxiety or aggression, the dog should be separated from the visitors. To make the dog comfortable, give them their own space, a comfortable blanket and a long-lasting chew toy.

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When children are coming over to visit they should be monitored with the dog at all times. Try assigning one adult to watching the dog, keeping an eye out for signs of stress and unwanted attention. If you have multiple dogs, you may want to consider keeping them in another room during large gatherings with children. No child should be allowed to touch your dog unless you or someone else has their hands on the dog to prevent face-to-face contact between them and to also help prevent the child from hurting or bothering the dog.

If you do perceive a problem with your dog and your guests, this is not the time to work on it. It is not reasonable to use visiting children and adults to help train your dog. Take these preventative measures and tips to ensure that your dog does not have the opportunity to bite someone and once the holiday season is over seek the help of a dog behavior specialist who uses positive reinforcement method to help train your dog.

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