Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dogs are people too.


As you plan for your parties,
don't forget to account for your canine party-members.

Holiday gatherings that mix the family dog with a larger than normal number of people in the house can lead to all kinds of problems and dangers for man and beast. Dan Rossignol is a local dog trainer and behaviorist who feels duty bound to spread his advice to party givers and partygoers this time of year. According to Rossignol, “When a family dog is used to normally three or four people around the house, stress levels are sure to go up when there are suddenly two or three times that number of people coming over for a holiday celebration.”

When dogs get stressed out they often act out in ways that may not be very healthy. Rossignol says dog owners who throw parties should take steps to keep their dogs and guests safe. “If you’re going to have 5, 10, 20 or more people over, chances are you will be doing some planning for this occasion. An important part of your planning should include deciding what to do with you dog. I recommend sending your dog for an overnight stay at your favorite kennel. It’s the best way to be certain your dog will stay safe and sound,” said Rossignol, who will be offering a free seminar on improving dog behavior this Saturday in Saratoga Springs.

Crowds of noisy, sometimes tipsy, people will often display inappropriate behaviors, and dogs tend to react in one of two ways; with aggression out of fear or aggression out of a territorial pack leader mentality. “Snarls, growls, nips and bites are not at all uncommon in these situations. The key is to keep the dog removed from this atmosphere,” advises Rossignol. Placing your dog in a comfortable crate at a quiet location in your home, away from the party, is another Rossignol suggestion.

If you attend a party at someone else’s home who happens to have a dog loose at the festivities, Rossignol says you should steer clear of that dog as much as possible. “Don’t bend over the dog. Don’t pet, pick up or roughhouse with the pet. Choose another, quieter time after the party if you wish to show your affection for the animal,” said Rossignol.

Can the typical holiday party actually pose a danger to your dog? Rossignol says, “Yes! Parties usually feature food out on display around the home, from the banquet table in the dining room to the candy dishes filled with chocolate kisses, to partially eaten food plates left around. If your dog gets into this food when you’re not watching, especially things such as chicken wing bones or chocolate, it can prove to be disastrous to your dog.”

Rossignol is the owner of Ausdauer Dog Training, LLC, often marketed under the name He provides solutions for most canine problems, including aggression, biting and nipping, with just ONE visit to the dog’s home. He has been often been favorably compared to TV’s Cesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer”, by the capital region media.