Today’s topic is: Taking Care of a Friend’s Dog.
I get a lot of different questions from all over the place and today I received a good one from one of my clients. She sent me a text saying “Hey, we’re going to be taking care of a friend’s dog. “What should we do?” I wanted to share the advice I gave them, in case it may be helpful to any of you as well.
Let Them Play
The first thing I told them was to let the dogs play together. If you’ve trained with me, you know I can be a bit hard. I don’t necessarily let my working dog prospects play with other dogs as adults. However, as a pet owner, you should let your dogs play together. When you’re letting those dogs play, I think it’s a good idea to keep a leash on them. Sometimes disagreements can happen or excitement can escalate into some unwanted biting. If that’s the case, having the leash there helps to sort out the problem quickly if they get into it.
Know Their Temperament
You should also know the temperament of your dog. If your dog doesn’t have a playful or friendly temperament, you probably shouldn’t be taking care of a friend’s dog. But there are still ways to do it. Keep a leash on them when they’re playing or not. It just makes it easier on you. Right when they start doing something unwanted, you could use the leash to help control the situation.
Another thing you can do, after the dogs have played, perhaps you can have them settle separately. Most people know I’m a big fan of place training. It’s such a fantastic way to calm a dog. So, having both dogs on their own place when settling will be really good.
Now, this one is challenging, but if you’re up for it you can play with one of the dogs while the other stays on their place. This would be much easier with another family member helping make sure the other dog stays and reinforces that. I like to play the treat toss game where one dog is on the place stay, and the other is running back and forth interacting with me. Switch it up and let them take turns. If the dogs are doing good, then why not get on the floor with them and play all together.
One thing to watch out for is resource guarding if there are toys and food around. Be careful about having too many things for the dogs to become possessive over because those things can turn into fights.