Pet etiquette when throwing a party

by Sandy Coughlin

The Reluctant Entertainer
Medford blogger, author, entertainer

This is a first for me, to be writing about pets and entertaining on RE!

Yes, we have a dog, Haggis Barley McStitch, a Cairn Terrier who we are in love with. And because we have a dog, and we entertain a lot, we already know our little Haggis is no angel!

In the past, when guests would come, we’d corral Haggis out in Paul’s office (separate from our house). He’s not good with kids. He was, until one kid ruined that for him when he was a puppy (we know exactly what happened), and now it’s impossible for other kids to be able to love on him.

Now that he’s growing up a bit (going on 9 years old), we’re letting him stay inside to see if he can behave himself when we have company over. Behaving himself, for Haggis, means to contain his excitement, and not jump up on the guests when they walk through the door.

Talk about hospitality! Our dog LOVES to greet people at the door! :)

We don’t want our guests to be annoyed, but on the other hand, he is a part of our family.

How to know if you should put the dog out:

1. Evaluate your guests’ body language: Are they pet lovers? Do they seem to like your dog or animal?

2. If the dog can’t stop jumping up: Especially when excited, usually when greeting the guests, who are often bearing gifts of delicious platters of foods in their hands!

3. If the barking is out of control: Our dog is a protector, so one thing can set him off (which can be scary or alarming when you’re not expecting it).

4. Beggars at the table: If the dog can’t leave your guests alone, chin in laps or annoying, slobbery behaviors.

5. Stealing food: If you’re entertaining casually with food at easy reach, watch out.

6. If your dog is super-protective and nips at people he/she perceives to be a threat to you (even when they’re good friends).

We have friends who keep their dogs in the laundry room or garage, or crate them. Usually these are larger dogs who can literally make you fall over if you run into them.

We’re still in the process of teaching Haggis to be a gracious guest, little guy that he is. We’ve yet to break his initial excitement when people come through the door. He usually settles right down, but if not … out to the garage he goes.

We know he’s not perfect, and we’re always thankful when our guests are gracious in return, as we are when we go to friends’ homes with pets!

Oh, and we have 2 cats. For some reason, they get out of the way when guests arrive! They’re not as social.

Here’s the question today:

Do you keep your animals in the house when you entertain? Or, do you do as we do, and watch the “body languages” of your guests?

This summer I’ll devote a post to Haggis and how he runs the property protecting our guests. He can’t help it, it’s just how he’s wired! Protection!

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