During holiday seasons, when you have friends and family bringing their dogs over, the following system is what l recommend and use myself.
All the dogs that come to my home need to be crate trained. All the dogs are going to place or crate when the humans are doing other things in the house (eg having dinner).
I do not allow dogs that have never met to just sniff and play with each other. They don’t “meet and greet” in the house by going crazy once they see each other. We can walk them side by side outside, or they can just place or crate (down in the crate) around each other.
Visitors are to leave the other peoples’ dogs alone and make sure their dogs do the same.
If the visitors’ dogs cannot respect other dogs, l will politely tell the owners they cannot bring their dogs over. If it is the humans who refuse to respect the rules, l will put my dogs in another room away from them.
I will never let someone who thinks they know about my dogs better than me to interact with my dogs against my consent (ie no talking to my dogs in high pitch emotional voice when they are calmly relaxing in their crates, don’t try to touch my dogs when they are chilling and minding their own business on their beds).
My house is my dog’s castle and l am my dog’s protector. That is my bottom line. There is no other way around that.
We don’t do horse play indoor.
We can walk them outside, they can go to the yard and play (but we rotate them so dogs only go out with dogs we know 100% can get along with each other) and they all practise being calm and relax indoor.
This will create a very constructive and educational environment for them in the midst of holiday chaos.
They will learn some very useful lessons. Firstly, the humans in the house have control of the dogs so they can be trusted; secondly, the humans in the house are considerate and respectful to each and every dog’s personal space hence not a threat; thirdly, the other dogs whom they have never met are also under control and respectful of dogs’ space so they are not to be worried about; last but not least, these dogs will be constantly challenged to stay calm and relaxed among all the commotions as the humans are doing other holiday stuff so the dogs will learn to become more engaged with better impulse control through this valuable learning experience.
A chaotic display of energy from an untrained dog is very unfair and stressful for the other dogs who will be trying their best to behave properly. It is my job to maintain a safe, fair, and peaceful environment for everyone’s sense of security and enjoyment.
This is reality, not a Hollywood movie. We don’t need to see all dogs going crazy in the house.
We can use the holiday experience to show them we are always focused on their best interest and they are always safe around us; or it can become a time when they learn that other humans and dogs will contribute to their stress and we have no way to protect them in those situations.
Dogs need to feel safe around us. They need to know we have the ability to protect them and we are willing and able to keep things under control around them. This is what they expect of us, this is our duty to them, this is how we can help them to feel confident and relaxed around us. That is why we implement the system we do.
Hope this helps.