A guide to having guests


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A reader asks for advice on how to keep her cross-breed dog calm during a family visit.

Q: Can you offer any advice on how to keep my cross-breed dog, acquired during lockdown, calm and relaxed over the new year holiday period? He is now nine months old and is quite anxious. We have family coming to stay and the house will be quite busy, which is something he hasn’t been used to over the past months. 

Helen Taylor, Wiltshire.

Tamsin says: Definitely start teaching him some useful skills now, so he’s had time to learn them before the visit. Make sure he has a cosy, comfy, out-of-the-way den all of his own within the home; you could use an indoor crate or barrier, such as a child-gate, to cordon off a secure area. Pop in some toys and treats and teach him to enjoy relaxing in this area by giving him a long-lasting tasty treat such as a stuffed, food-releasing toy, or a licking mat. When you have visitors, he can be encouraged to settle in his den to enjoy a long-lasting activity, which he’ll be used to doing. He’ll also be safe in there, as he won’t need to worry about people trying to interact with him; you’ll need to explain to your visitors how important it is to leave your dog alone.

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